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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Kerry: US help in Iraq 'will only work if leaders unite'

US assistance to Iraq will only work if Iraqi leaders overcame deep divisions, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

Volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi Army to fight against predominantly Sunni militants, parade in the streets in Baghdad's Sadr city. Credit: Reuters

Kerry spoke with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari yesterday.

The State Department said in a statement:

"He emphasised to the Foreign Minister that assistance from the US would only be successful if Iraqi leaders were willing to put aside differences and implement a coordinated and effective approach to forge the national unity necessary to move the country forward and confront the threat of ISIL."

Kerry also urged Iraq to quickly ratify the results of recent elections and to form a new government.

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