WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday more than doubled the bounty on the head of the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to $25 million. The announcement by the State Department "Rewards for Justice Program" came as US-backed local forces close in on the militant movement's main urban strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the cities of Mosul and Raqa. The cash will be paid to anyone who can offer "information leading to the location, arrest or conviction" of the elusive militant. "Under…
BAGHDAD: Islamic State insurgents took control on Thursday of large parts of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, threatening an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqi troops, officials said.
The statement issued by the Islamic State, the al Qaeda offshoot which led last month's lightning assault to capture swathes of north Iraq, and seen by Reuters, said the ruling would come into effect on Saturday. It said Christians who wanted to remain in the "caliphate" that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a "dhimma" contract - a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as "jizya". "We…