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Head Of Al-Azhar Calls Islamic State Militants 'Criminals'

  • RFE/RL

The head of Egypt's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, says Islamic State militants are "criminals" who serve a "Zionist" plot to "destroy the Arab world."

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb said on September 8 in Cairo that "these criminals have been able to transmit to the world a tarnished and alarming image of Muslims."

At least 10 people were killed on September 8 when suicide bombers detonated two explosive-laden vehicles in a town north of Baghdad that has resisted Islamic State (IS) militants.

Police said the blasts in Duluiyah also wounded at least 30 people.

Duluiyah, which is about 80 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital, was overtaken by IS militants for two days earlier this summer before they were driven out.

A second attempt by Islamic State to retake the town last month was also repelled.

There was no immediate claim for the attack.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he will make a speech on September 10 outlining his strategy to go on the offensive against Islamic State.

Speaking on September 7, Obama said the United States intended to "systematically degrade" the group's capabilities.

His announcement came the same day the United States extended its air strikes against Islamic State forces for the first time into western Iraq.

The new strikes hit fighters who've been besieging Iraqi government forces at the strategic Haditha dam in Anbar Province.

Meanwhile, the Arab League has vowed to take "all necessary measures" against Islamic State.

At a meeting in Cairo on September 7, Arab League foreign ministers gave their endorsement to a resolution passed by the UN Security Council last month.

The UN resolution urged member states to "act to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria."

Islamic State has taken control of large parts of northern and western Iraq as well as swaths of Syria.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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