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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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John Kerry arrives in Baghdad in unannounced visit

US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Baghdad in an unannounced visit for talks with Prime Minister Maliki and other Iraqi leaders.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arriving in Amman yesterday during his Middle East tour. Credit: Reuters

He is expected to press Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to form a more inclusive, less sectarian government to quell a Sunni insurgency that has swept much of northern and western Iraq.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry would:

"Discuss U.S. actions underway to assist Iraq as it confronts this threat and urge Iraqi leaders to move forward as quickly as possible with its government formation process to form a government that represents the interests of Iraqis."

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