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Iraqi forces reach jihadist-besieged town of Amerli

Iraqi forces have broken through the Islamic State-besieged town of Amerli where thousands of people were trapped for over two months, according to news agency AFP.

Security spokesman Lieutenant General Qassem Atta told AFP: "Our forces entered Amerli and broke the siege".

RAF transport planes took part in a humanitarian air drop to the town last night, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.

US aircraft also launched airstrikes against IS fighters near the besieged town.

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IS wanted 'female scientist in exchange for Foley'

The Islamic State demanded the release of Dr Afia Sidiqqi who has links to al-Qaeda in exchange for James Foley, it has emerged.

An email from the Islamic State sent to the family of the murdered journalist, just a week before a video of his beheading was released, has been published by the Global Post.

Addressed as "a message to the American government and their sheep like citizens", the group claim it offered the United States chances to release Foley though "cash transactions" and the release of Dr Afia Sidiqqi.

Sidiqqi, who was trained as a neuroscientist in the United States, is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence in Texas for attempting to kill US soldiers while she was being questioned on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks against American citizens.

"You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted," the email said.

"We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in."

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