A spokesman for the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants operating inside Iraq has called on the group’s members to march toward the capital, Baghdad.
On Wednesday, ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said the militants will take their terrorist activities to the capital and also the southern city of Karbala.
“Do not relent against your enemy... The battle is not yet raging, but it will rage in Baghdad and Karbala,” he said. He also criticized the leadership of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Just days ago, the Takfiri militants gained control of parts of the country’s northern and north-central areas, including the city of Mosul. On June 10, the militants took control of Nineveh Province, forcing “over 500,000 people in and around” its capital Mosul to flee, according to Geneva-based International Organization for Migration.
Reports also indicate that, on June 11, the militants seized the city of Tikrit; shortly afterwards, however, Iraqi forces managed to recapture the central city, located roughly half way between Baghdad and Mosul.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to support the Iraqi government in its fight against the militants.
Takfiri groups are reportedly entering Iraq from neighboring Syria and Saudi Arabia to undermine security in the country.
Maliki has vowed to continue fighting the militants.