Islamic State leader calls for jihad in audio message

The leader of the Islamic State, formerly Isis, has released the first audiotape calling for jihad since the group renamed. The group is currently battling Iraqi forces across large parts of the country.

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'Over 150,000 people flee Mosul' after insurgents raid

Over 150,000 people have reportedly fled from Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, after Sunni Islamist insurgents took control of the area following a military raid.

Children stand next to a burnt vehicle during clashes between Iraqi security forces and insurgents. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

The seizure of the city was condemned by the United States, with a state department spokeswoman calling the situation "extremely serious" and urging fractious political groups to fight Iraq's enemies together.

The takeover by forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant showed that security in the country had deteriorated, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

She added: "There's no question that unity - and all sides and officials in Iraq working together - is the only way that they can be successful here".

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