Iraqi military officials said Sunday that two border crossings — one with Syria and one with Jordan — had been seized by Sunni militants, in addition to the four nearby towns captured by insurgent forces since Friday.
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The officials said "Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) captured the Turaibil crossing with Jordan and the al-Walid crossing with Syria after government forces pulled out.
The militants took the two crossings after overtaking Rutba in the Anbar province late Saturday, officials said. Rutba is the last Iraqi town on the highway leading to Jordan, which is a primary pathway for passengers and goods.
Iraqi security forces made a "tactical" withdrawal during the attack in Rutba, but Syria launched fighter jets to drop bombs in an effort to defend the Iraqi territory, a security source told NBC News.
Four new towns — Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba — have been seized by the ISIS militants since Friday.
The capture of Rawah on the Euphrates River and the nearby town of Anah appeared to be part of a march toward a key dam in the city of Haditha, the destruction of which would damage the country's electrical grid and cause major flooding.
— Ghazi Balkiz, with the Associated Press
First published June 22 2014, 10:09 AM