Terrorists take cities on road to Baghdad

Terrorists take cities on road to Baghdad

Posted: Updated:
Iraqi cities continue to fall as terrorists march south toward Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.  (Source: FOX) Iraqi cities continue to fall as terrorists march south toward Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. (Source: FOX)

JERUSALEM (FOX) - Insurgents on Wednesday continued their march across Iraq.

Iraqi officials vow to fight back against the Islamic militants taking over major cities.

The violence is raising concerns about the stability of the entire region.

Another city falls into the hands of an al-Qaida splinter group.

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - or ISIL- have taken over Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown. 

ISIL is active in both Iraq and Syria seeking to set up a cross-border stronghold.

The group is already in power in Iraq's Fallujah, and also has control of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.

"This is a huge problem for Iraq and for the whole region and may be for the whole world," said Rami Khoury, director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

Iraqi forces retreated from Mosul with hundreds of thousands of residents fleeing the fighting as well.

The country's Shiite-backed government is promising to regroup and push back against the insurgents.

"I could sincerely say what happened in [the province] was a conspiracy because the size of al-Qaida and the [I-S-I-L] was not at the level of army and police there," said Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister.

The U.S. is expressing concern over the recent developments.

"The Deputy Assistant Secretary Brett McGurk is on the ground. The secretary spoke with him this morning and naturally the secretary and other senior officials are in close touch with him," said Jen Psaki, a U.S. State Department spokesperson on Wednesday.

Thousands of U.S. troops died during the nearly decade-long war in Iraq.

The Obama administration says they will continue to provide assistance to the Iraqi government. But the leaders there need to quote "step up to the plate" and deal with the situation.

Copyright 2014 FOX. All rights reserved.

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