Arab League foreign ministers agree to ′confront′ IS | News | DW | 08.09.2014
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Arab League foreign ministers agree to 'confront' IS

Arab states have agreed to take urgent measures to combat 'Islamic State' militants. The Arab League foreign ministers, however, fell short of explicitly backing the US military action against the group.

The Arab League said in a resolution on Monday that it would take "necessary measures" to combat "Islamic State" (IS) on the political, defense, security and legal levels.

The League's Cairo conference also backed the United Nations' decision to impose sanctions on a number of the group's fighters and called on the international community to help defeat the Sunni militant organization.

Nabil Elaraby, the head of the Arab League, said at the opening session of the meeting on Monday that the rise of IS in Iraq threatened not only the authority of the state, but "its very existence and the existence of other states."

The Arab League chief also criticized Arab states for underestimating the threat posed by IS jihadists.

IS - also referred to as ISIS and Isil - has taken over vast swathes of Syria and Iraq. Recent US airstrikes, however, have slowed the advance of the group, particularly in northern Iraq. Since August, the US military has carried out over 100 airstrikes in the country.

On Sunday, the US struck IS targets in Iraq's western Anbar province near Haditha Dam, which had been under threat from the militants.

No official backing for US strikes

The Arab League meeting stopped short of endorsing any direct US involvement in the conflict. Elaraby said, however, that action against the militant outfit would include "international cooperation on all fronts."

The US has already expanded its operation against IS. On Sunday, President Barack Obama said he would announce his "game plan" to defeat the militants on Wednesday. The president, however, ruled out the possibility of a US ground offensive in Iraq.

Baghdad had welcomed Obama's plan for an international coalition against jihadists as a "strong message of support."

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to visit the region this week to discuss details of the proposed US IS policy.

More IS attacks

The Iraqi police said on Monday that an IS bomber drove an explosives-laden Humvee, apparently seized from the Iraqi military, into a gathering of members of a major Sunni tribe, the Jabour, and security forces in the town of Duluiyah, about 80 kilometers (45 miles) north of the capital Baghdad. The bombing killed at least 16 people and wounded 55, an Iraqi police officer told the Associated Press news agency.

IS claimed responsibility for Monday's attack in an online statement.

Duluiyah briefly fell to the IS group in July but the Jabour tribesmen took it back after aligning themselves with Iraqi government forces.

shs/tj (AP, AFP)

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