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Jihad Group Sweeping Through Iraq, More Cities Fall

ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), the jihadist group wreaking havoc in Syria for more than a year, has gained control of the Nineveh province in its country of birth - post-US invasion Iraq. Reports late Wednesday said the extremists had taken control of the city of Tikrit.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki had asked parliament Tuesday to declare a state of emergency after jihadists overran further swathes of the country, including half of Nineveh’s capital city of Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city after Baghdad, sending more than 500,000 people fleeing.

On Wednesday morning, Al Jazeera reported in its headline story that ISIS fighters had taken control of an oil refinery in the city of Baiji and was on the move towards the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Twitter was alive with graphic pictures and videos as well as predictions for how ISIS's growing influence might be curbed.

An ISIS sympathizer in Qatar tweeted an image of Iraq, with ISIS controlled territory in black. “The banner (there is no god but God and Muhammad is His prophet) of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham is spreading thanks to God.”

تتمدد ب�ضل الله راية لا اله الا الله محمدا رسول الله الدولة الاسلامية �ي العراق و الشام pic.twitter.com/839AnZGLDA

— جليبيب  باقية (@joulaybib_dawla) June 11, 2014

In the meantime, jihadi expert Aaron Zelin tweeted pessimistically about the possibilities of stopping ISIS’s march.

The only local power that can take on ISIS in Iraq is Iran & it's proxies. There will be consequences for that when it becomes more overt.

— Aaron Y. Zelin (@azelin) June 11, 2014

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