Key Iraqi Town Near US Training Base Falls To Islamic State Jihadists


Islamic State (IS) militants have captured an Iraqi town about 8km (5 miles) from an air base housing hundreds of US troops, the Pentagon says. BBC has more:

US officials downplayed the fall of al-Baghdadi, which is within striking distance of the Ain al-Asad air base.

Ain al-Asad was itself attacked by IS on Friday though the militants were repelled, officials say.

Until its fall, al-Baghdadi was one of the few towns in the western Anbar province still held by the Iraqi army.

Rear Adm John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said the development had to be put into perspective.

It was the first time in the last a couple of months that the militant group had taken new ground, he said.

Friday’s attack on the air base is prompting some in Washington to question again whether deploying US ground forces against IS can really be avoided – particularly when it comes to recapturing urban areas where air strikes might risk killing innocent civilians, BBC Washington reporter Naomi Grimley reports.


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