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Islamic State Says It's Poised To Seize More Territory

Armed Shi'ite volunteers from brigades loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr take up positions with their weapons on a vehicle during a patrol on the outskirts of Samarra.

The Islamic State says that it is poised to seize more territory in northern Iraq after capturing key towns during the weekend.

The militant group also said it captured dozens of Kurdish prisoners during clashes with Kurdish forces, known as Peshmerga.

The Islamic State was formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

On August 3, the group captured the Iraqi city of Sinjar and two smaller towns -- its most significant gains since sweeping across northern and western Iraq nearly two months ago.

Tens of thousands of people, including members of the Yazidi religious minority, have fled the area amid reports that the militants massacred dozens of Yazidis in Sinjar who refused to convert to Islam.

Reports say the militants gave the Yazidis, who follow a religion with links to Zoroastrianism, "an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or face death."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa