Security tightened in Iraqi cities under threat from ISIL

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Security tightened in Iraqi cities under threat from ISIL

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Security forces have been tightening their grip on the main Iraqi cities under threat from ISIL but not controlled by the Sunni militants.

The northern city of Kirkuk is now in the hands of Kurdish fighters following the collapse of the Iraqi army.

Joint patrols were established as emergency police units were deployed across the ethnically-mixed city on Thursday.

“Security forces and (Kurdish) Peshmerga forces have control over Kirkuk, and the situation is very good,” said one driver who experienced the patrols.

More than two million Iraqis are said to have responded to a call by the country’s most influential Shi’ite cleric to take up arms against the insurgency.

They have been brought to Baghdad from all over Iraq for a one-week training course before being sent to cities controlled by the militants.

“I came in response to a call by the highest religious authority represented by Sayyid Ali al-Sistani to fight the militants,” said Sattar Jabbar, a volunteer.

State-run Iraqi TV has broadcast material aimed at stirring public opinion in favour of the struggle against the insurgents, including patriotic, military and religious music.

Some viewers said songs they described as “nationalistic and jingoistic” reminded them of the Saddam Hussein era during the 1980s war with Iran.