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Self-Proclaimed 'Caliph' Orders All Muslims to Move to New Islamic State


Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014.

Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014.

The self-appointed leader of the newly proclaimed Islamic state in Iraq and Syria is demanding that all Muslims emigrate there and take up arms.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi posted an audio message on Islamist websites Tuesday, saying the new state is for all Muslims, regardless of skin color or nationality. He said Syria is not for the Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis.

Baghdadi said the holy month of Ramadan is the perfect time for all Muslims to take up weapons and flight.

Sunni extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant proclaimed a sovereign state for Muslims earlier this week. ISIL has seized much of northern Iraq and is one of the rebel groups fighting to topple the Syrian government.

Iraqi newly elected parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.

Iraqi newly elected parliament members attend the first session of parliament in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, July 1, 2014.

Also Tuesday, Iraq's new parliament ended its first session since April's election, without selecting a new prime minister.

The lawmakers met for the first time Tuesday since being elected in late April, but acting speaker Mahdi al-Hafidh ended the session after a number of members failed to return from a break.

He said they would continue in a week if there is a possibility of an agreement.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was a favorite to claim his third term after the election, but since then Sunni Islamist militants have captured large areas of northern and western Iraq and thrown the country into crisis.

Western leaders have urged Iraqi officials to form an inclusive government to counter sectarian divisions among its Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish populations.

Iraq has been operating under a system in which the prime minister is a Shi'ite, the president a Kurd and the head of parliament a Sunni.

The surge by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant came with a rise in violence that made June an extraordinarily deadly month for Iraqi civilians and for the country's security forces.

The United Nations mission in Iraq said Tuesday that 886 military personnel were killed last month, a number that is higher than the first five months of 2014 combined. At least 1,531 civilians were also killed, the most since July of last year.

U.N. data shows 7,160 deaths from terrorism and violence in the first half of 2014, compared to about 9,000 deaths in all of 2013.

In response to the violence, the United States has added 200 more troops to bolster security at its embassy and Baghdad's international airport.

President Barack Obama authorized the deployment Monday, saying in a letter to Congress it will also include helicopters and unmanned drones.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the troops already have arrived in Iraq. They join the 275 troops sent to protect the embassy last month.

These forces are separate from the up to 300 military advisers the president authorized to assist Iraq as it battles the militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who have taken over major cities and threatened to attack Baghdad.

The latest announcement brings to nearly 800 the number of U.S. forces in Iraq.

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