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Gunmen seize Iraqi border post with Syria - sources

Source: Reuters - Sun, 22 Jun 2014 17:09 GMT
Author: Reuters
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ANBAR, Iraq, June 22 (Reuters) - Gunmen seized an Iraqi-Syrian border post in Iraq's western Anbar province on Sunday, security sources said, a day after Sunni militants fighting the Baghdad government grabbed another border crossing further north.

Officials at the border post of al-Waleed fled after a relatively small number of militants in two cars fired into the air, a customs police source and an army source said. They did not say who was behind the attack. A government official who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed "terrorists".

Al-Waleed lies west of Rutba, one of three towns to fall on Sunday to the Sunni insurgents led by al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has made stunning advances across northwest and central Iraq this month.

Al-Qaim, another border town about 200 km (120 miles) further north, fell on Saturday to the ISIL militants, who want to create an Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria.

The security sources said some officials from the customs office and from a government bank at the Waleed border crossing had fled westward in the direction of Syria and others had headed east into Iraq.

The office for the prime minister's military command did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Kamal Namaa; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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