ISIS takes control of half of town of Rutba in Iraq

BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters expanded the area under their control in a remote western Iraqi town near the borders with Syria and Jordan from a third to about half, security sources said on Tuesday (Oct 25).

The insurgents attacked the town of Rutba on Sunday (Oct 23) in a bid to relieve pressure on the northern city of Mosul, where they are fighting off an offensive by the Iraqi army and Kurdish fighters backed by the US-led coalition.

They spread the area under their control in overnight fighting, the sources said.

The Iraqi army and Sunni tribal fighters remained in control of the other half, at the town's entrances from the express highway that links Baghdad and the western border, they said.

The army was bringing in reinforcements, they said.

Rutba is in western Anbar province, a hotbed for the Sunni insurgency against the Shi'ite-led government and the US-forces that overthrew Saddam Hussein, a Sunni, in 2003.