In rare alliance, Shi'ites join Sunnis to defend Iraqi towns

October 3rd, 2014  
News Manager

Topic: In rare alliance, Shi'ites join Sunnis to defend Iraqi towns

By Raheem Salman and Yara Bayoumy BAGHDAD (Reuters) - When Islamic State fighters tried to storm the Tigris River town of Dhuluiya north of Baghdad this week, they were repelled by a rare coalition of Sunni tribal fighters inside the town and Shi'ites in its sister city Balad on the opposite bank. The assault, which began late on Tuesday ran into Thursday, was one of several major battles in recent days in which Sunni tribes joined pro-government forces against the militants, in what Baghdad and Washington hope is a sign of increasing cooperation across sectarian lines to save the country. Further north, another powerful Sunni tribe fought alongside Kurdish forces to drive Islamic State fighters from Rabia, a town controlling one of the main border checkpoints used by fighters pouring in from Syria. In western Iraq, Sunni tribes have fought alongside government troops in Hit, which was captured by Islamic State fighters on Thursday, and in Haditha, site of a strategic dam on the Euphrates.


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