Security forces battle militants near Iraq's Samarra: Police
AFP, Wednesday 11 Jun 2014

Iraqi security forces battled militants at a northern entrance to the city of Samarra on Wednesday, police and witnesses said, as jihadists pushed south towards Baghdad in a lightning offensive.

The city is home to a revered Shiite shrine that was bombed in 2006, sparking a sectarian conflict between Iraq's Shiite majority and Sunni Arab minority that left tens of thousands dead.

The city lies just 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of the Iraqi capital on the main highway from second city Mosul where jihadists launched their offensive late on Monday.