Sunni Fighters Expand Offensive in Western Iraq

(AP) - Sunni insurgents led by an al-Qaida breakaway group expanded their offensive in a volatile western province on Saturday, capturing two strategic towns and the first border crossing with Syria to fall on the Iraqi side.

It's the latest blow against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is fighting for his political life even as forces beyond his control are pushing the country toward a sectarian showdown.

In a reflection of the bitter divide, thousands of heavily armed Shiite militiamen - eager to take on the Sunni insurgents - march through Iraqi cities in military-style parades on streets where many of them battled U.S. forces a half decade ago

The towns of Qaim and Rawah are the first territory seized in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, since fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group overran the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi earlier this year.

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Topics : PoliticsWar_Conflict
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Locations : AnbarBaghdadFallujahLevantQaimRawahWestern Iraq
People : Nouri al-Maliki
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