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Iraq conflict: Sunni militant push on Baghdad ‘halted’

Iraqi government forces, backed by Shia Muslim and Kurdish militias, are reportedly holding back an advance by Sunni militants north of Baghdad. A number of towns have been retaken from the rebels, but they still control the key cities of Tikrit and Mosul. In one town that changed hands, Ishaq, security forces said they had found the incinerated bodies of 12 policemen. A US aircraft carrier has been deployed to the Gulf in response to the escalating violence. US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that American assistance in tackling any Islamist offensive will only succeed if Iraqi leaders are willing to put aside their differences. Tony Blair: “Don’t believe washing our…