AFP reports: A powerful jihadist group inspired by Al-Qaeda has opened a new battlefront with Iraqi security forces that could see it try to push into Baghdad, officials and analysts warn.
The latest clashes, just weeks before parliamentary elections, raise key questions over the capacity of the army and police to repel militant attacks.
Anti-government fighters currently hold all of Fallujah, a town that is just a short drive from Baghdad, and other pockets of territory.
The push by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) into the Abu Ghraib area, sparking clashes in nearby Zoba and Zaidan, as well as a failed assault on a military camp in Yusifiyah, illustrate the group’s ambition, even with Fallujah under military siege.
In perhaps the most worrying sign of ISIL’s capabilities, anti-government fighters paraded with dozens of vehicles last week in broad daylight in Abu Ghraib, just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the capital, according to witnesses and videos posted to YouTube. [Continue reading…]