Volunteers flocked on Friday to an army recruitment center in the southern Shiite city of Karbala, showing their readiness to join armed troops in combating the extremist militants.
More than a thousand volunteers left Karbala for an army camp in the city of Taji, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad, where they will take part in a short training course before being deployed to fight along the Iraqi troops.
“These young people are here today to defend their homeland and all of them are ready to die in defense of their land sanctities,” said Haider al-Sultani, head of the Karbala recruiting center.
Chanting and vowing to defeat ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) militants, the new recruits said that were ready to die for their country.
“ISIL can not threaten us. We will sacrifice our lives for the land of Iraq,” one recruit said.
Police officials said militants driving in machinegun-mounted pickups entered the two newly conquered towns in the eastern Diyala province late Thursday – Jalula, 125 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, and Sadiyah, 95 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government struggles to form a coherent response after the militants blitzed and captured the country’s second-largest city of Mosul, Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, smaller communities, as well as military and police bases.
The foreign backed terrorists, which also draws support from former Saddam-era figures and other disaffected extremists, has emerged as the biggest threat to Iraq’s stability.
Hundreds of civilian have been killed in recent days as ISIL terrorists have advanced to Mosul and other Iraqi cities, UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville says, citing initial reports.
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) has also received reports of summary executions of Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, he says.
The allegations include the executions in Mosul of 17 civilian police employees on Wednesday and 12 security forces at an unspecified date.