BAGHDAD — The al-Qaida-inspired group that led this week's charge in capturing two key Sunni-dominated cities in Iraq vowed Thursday to march on to Baghdad, raising fears about the Shiite-led government's ability to slow the assault after lightning gains.
Signs emerged that the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant is backed in its campaign by former military officers and other members of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, including a force led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the late leader's former deputy who escaped the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and eluded U.S. and Iraqi forces ever since.
In the north, Kurdish security forces took over an air base and other posts abandoned by the Iraqi military in ethnically mixed Kirkuk, a senior official with the Kurdish forces said. He denied they had taken over the oil-rich city.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked parliament this week to declare a state of emergency that would give him increased powers to run the country, but the lawmakers Thursday failed to assemble a quorum to do so.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.