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IS seeking alliance with Al Qaeda, says Iraqi vice president

BAGHDAD: The militant Islamic State group is talking to Al Qaeda about a possible alliance as Iraqi troops close in on IS fighters in Mosul, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said in an interview on Monday.

Allawi said he got the information on Monday from Iraqi and regional contacts knowledgeable about Iraq.

“The discussion has started now,” Allawi said. “There are discussions and dialogue between messengers representing Baghdadi and representing Zawahiri,” referring to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda.

The IS group split from Al Qaeda in 2014 and the two groups have since waged an acrimonious battle for recruits, funding and the mantle of global jihad. Zawahiri has publicly criticised IS for its brutal methods, which have included beheadings, drownings and immolation. It is unclear how exactly the two group may work together, Allawi said.

The IS group blazed across large swathes of northern Iraq in 2014, leaving the Iraqi central government reeling. Baghdadi declared a caliphate over the territory the group controlled from the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul the same year, which also became a point of contention with Al Qaeda.

Last October, Iraqi security forces and Shia volunteer fighters, commonly referred to as the Popular Mobilisation Units teamed up with an international coalition, including the United States, to drive the Islamic State group from of Mosul and the areas surrounding the city.

The group has been pushed out of the half of Mosul that lies east of the Tigris River, but Iraqi soldiers and their allies are now bogged down in tough fighting in the narrow streets of in the Old City of Mosul, west of the river, according to Iraqi security officials.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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