Iraq's Shiite militias rush to defend oil-rich Kirkuk from Islamic State, test Kurdish claims

February 17, 2015 11:45 AM

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Iraq's Shiite militias rush to defend oil-rich Kirkuk from Islamic State, test Kurdish claims

In this Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 photo, a Shiite militia fighter aims his weapon with the Iraqi flag in the background, on the frontline just outside the city of Kirkuk, Iraq. When the Islamic State militants blitzed across northern and western Iraq last year, tens of thousands of Shiite men answered a call-to-arms by the country’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to defend the nation against the Sunni extremists. Now the Shiite militiamen have arrived in Kirkuk, long one of Iraq’s most hotly disputed territories, and have made a string of bases just 10 kilometers (six miles) from the city their home. (AP Photo/Emad Matti) (The Associated Press)

In this Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 photo, a Shiite militia fighter holds an Iraqi flag with the image of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed, outside of Kirkuk, Iraq. When the Islamic State militants blitzed across northern and western Iraq last year, tens of thousands of Shiite men answer...

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