As caliphate is declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit

Iraqi soldiers fire artillery during clashes with Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the town of Jurf al-SakharIraqi troops battled to dislodge an al Qaeda splinter group from the city of Tikrit on Monday after its leader was declared caliph of a new Islamic state in lands seized this month across a swath of Iraq and Syria. Underscoring rising tensions in the region, the United States said it had sent about 300 additional troops into Iraq along with a detachment of helicopters and drone aircraft. Alarming regional and world powers, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed universal authority, declaring that its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was now caliph of the Muslim world, a mediaeval title last widely recognized in the Ottoman sultan deposed 90 years ago after World War One.

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