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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Young Iraqi men flock to volunteer in army in Baghdad

The Iraqi army has been driving around Baghdad, with its swollen ranks of volunteers. Credit: Reuters

Hundreds of young Iraqi men are flocking to volunteer centres across Baghdad to join the fight against Islamic militants who advanced across the country's north this week.

They were responding to a call by Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric for Iraqis to defend their country against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which seized Iraq's second largest city Mosul and Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit in a lightning advance.

Volunteers are searched before entering the army compound. Credit: Reuters

The call was made by a representative of the Iranian-born grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. His call, while resonating with Iraq's Shiite majority, could aggravate the Sunni-Shiite sectarian divide, which nearly tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007.

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