Al-Maliki confirms Syrian airstrikes carried out against ISIS in Iraq
Iraq PM tells BBC he did not ask Syria for assistance, but that he 'welcomed' any strike against the Sunni militant group.
REUTERS - Syria has carried out air strikes inside Iraqi territory earlier this week, Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was quoted on Thursday as telling the BBC.
The article said Maliki confirmed that Syrian jets had bombed militants near the border town of al-Qaim.
Maliki said he did not ask for the raid but "welcomed" any strike against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Syria militant group, the BBC said.
Syrian state media has denied the country has carried out attacks on Iraq.
ISIS take Iraqi gas field town near Baghdad
Militants on Thursday took a town an hour from Baghdad that is home to four natural gas fields, another gain by Sunni insurgents who have swiftly taken large areas to the north and west of the Iraqi capital.
The overnight attack included Mansouriyat al-Jabal, home to the gas fields where foreign companies operate, security forces said. The fighting threatens to rupture the country two and a half years after the end of U.S. occupation.
The insurgents, led by the hardline ISIS but also including other Sunni groups blame al-Maliki for marginalizing their sect during eight years in power and he is fighting for his job.
Iraq's presidency said a session of parliament would be held on July 1, the first step to forming a new government that the international community hopes will be inclusive enough to undermine the insurgency.
Parliament will then have 30 days to name a president and 15 days after that to name a prime minister although the process has been delayed in the past, taking nine months to seat the government in 2010.
Maliki has dismissed the call of mainly Sunni political and religious figures, some with links to armed groups fighting Maliki, for a "national salvation government" that would choose figures to lead the country and, in effect, bypass the election.
Iraq's Shi'ite religious cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a foe of Maliki's, called for all Iraqis to deplore the Sunni insurgency and rally behind the army but said that a new government was needed "with faces from all spectrums and away from sectarian quotas."
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