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Militants post images of dozens of Iraqi soldiers lined up and shot north of Baghdad

Sunday - 6/15/2014, 3:39pm  ET

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Islamic militant group that swept across northern Iraq and captured two major cities last week has posted graphic photos on a website that appear to show its masked fighters massacring dozens of captured Iraqi soldiers.

With thousands of Shiite men heeding a call from their most revered spiritual leader to take up arms against the Sunni militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, there are fears the grisly images will further sharpen sectarian tensions.

ISIL has vowed to take the battle to Iraq's capital and cities further south where revered Shiite shrines are located.

Iraq's government has been bolstering Baghdad's defenses, particularly on its northern and western approaches. But a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad today, killing 10 and wounding 21.

Meanwhile, Iraqi government officials say the militants fired rockets seized last week from military arms depots on the city of Tal Afar in northern Iraq, which is mainly inhabited by ethnic minority Turkmen.

Iraq's top military spokesman says the militants are suffering heavy casualties, with nearly 300 militants killed in the past 24 hours on fronts north of the capital.

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154-a-19-(Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to the U.S., in interview)-"very dangerous insurgency"-Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to the U.S., says the U.S. should work closely with Iran to help the Iraqi government defeat the militants, who believe Tehran is already influencing Baghdad. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) ((note length)) (15 Jun 2014)

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155-a-13-(Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to the U.S., in interview)-"terrible sectarian rivalries"-Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to the U.S., says the U.S. and Britain should be working closely with what he calls mid-range powers in the region. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 Jun 2014)

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137-a-13-(Representative Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman, House Intelligence Committee, in interview)-"points of difference"-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says President Obama needs to show leadership with an immediate response to the terrorist threat from Islamic militants in Iraq. COURTESY: "Fox News Sunday" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 Jun 2014)

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138-a-13-(Representative Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman, House Intelligence Committee, in interview)-"as it gets"-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says the Islamic militants advancing in Iraq are "an al-Qaida army on the move." COURTESY: "Fox News Sunday" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 Jun 2014)

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139-a-14-(Representative Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman, House Intelligence Committee, in interview)-"in this equation"-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says the U.S. has forgotten its Arab League partners in planning a response to the militant rebels in Iraq. COURTESY: "Fox News Sunday" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 Jun 2014)

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140-a-16-(Representative Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman, House Intelligence Committee, in interview)-"the United States"-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says the Islamic militants in Iraq pose a direct threat to American and European security. COURTESY: "Fox News Sunday" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (15 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XMA101: This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. The Islamic militant group that seized much of northern Iraq has posted photos that appear to show its fighters shooting dead dozens of captured Iraqi soldiers in a province north of the capital Baghdad. Iraq's top military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the photos' authenticity on Sunday and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of Iraqi soldiers. (AP Photo via militant website) (15 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO XMA107: This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with captured Iraqi soldiers wearing plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. The Islamic militant group that seized much of northern Iraq has posted photos that appear to show its fighters shooting dead dozens of captured Iraqi soldiers in a province north of the capital Baghdad. Iraq's top military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the photos' authenticity on Sunday and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of Iraqi soldiers. (AP Photo via militant website) (15 Jun 2014)

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