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Iraq forces have begun clearing cities of 'terrorists', says PM

A picture taken on January 11, 2014 shows Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaking during a political meeting in BaghdadPrime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Friday Iraqi security forces have begun clearing cities of “terrorists,” after militants seized swathes of territory and brought the military to the brink of collapse. Security forces “began their work to clear all our dear cities from these terrorists,” Maliki said in a statement, without giving details of where or when operations had started. A major militant offensive, spearheaded by powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has overrun all of one province and chunks of three more since Monday. Security forces have so far failed to halt the push, with some abandoning their vehicles and positions and discarding their uniforms.

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