Islamic State moving ever closer to Iraqi capital
Islamic State (IS) gunmen are continuing their sweep across Iraq and are poised at the gates of a town just north of Baghdad - despite American air strikes intended to thwart the extremist group's advances.
Commanders from the fundamentalist militia are massing near Qara Tappa, just 70 miles north of the capital.
Responding to the escalating military build-up US President Barack Obama said the danger from radicals in Iraq still required US involvement. Meanwhile, the need for a rescue mission to save the Yazidi minority has been the subject of much debate around the globe.
Fierce fighting broke out in Fallujah, the city held by IS which lies just 40 miles west of the capital. At least 15 people were killed, including four children, when extremist Sunni gunmen battled Iraqi troops on the city's outskirts.
The UN has declared the situation in Iraq a "Level 3 Emergency" - a development that will trigger the delivery of additional goods, funds and assets to respond to the needs of refugees.
Washington DC, meanwhile, was urging Iraq's political factions to overcome the debilitating stalemate in Baghdad.
The Obama administration was trying to persuade prime minister designate Haidar al-Abadi to move swiftly to form a broad-based government which can unite Iraqis in the fight against the insurgents who have overrun large parts of the country.
The latest development came as clashes erupted west of Baghdad and the UN announced its highest level of humanitarian emergency for the crisis-hit country to date. (Daily Telegraph London)