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Shiite tribal fighters raise their weapons and chant slogans against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Basra, Iraq, on June 16. / Nabil Al-Jurani, AP

The strikes continue throughout Iraq as Sunni extremists move closer to Baghdad, elevating death tolls on both sides of the conflict. Here's what is developing in Iraq.

What's the latest attack?

The Associated Press reports that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL or ISIS, have entered a province just north of Baghdad. The AP reported that at least 44 Sunni detainees were killed in a clash Monday night in a police station near Baqouba. There were conflicting reports on the exact number dead and how they died.

What is ISIL's next move?

ISIL fighters are aiming for Baghdad, the capital and largest city in the country. Additionally, Sunni-based ISIL reportedly plans to invade the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf - both important to the predominantly Shiite nation.

How is the United States responding?

Although there has not been any direct intervention from the U.S. military, the U.S. is moving 275 troops into and near Baghdad to protect the U.S. Embassy alongside the naval forces already stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would be open to possibly working with political enemy Iran to help Iraq, but the White House and Pentagon said there are no current plans to work alongside Iran.

How is Iran responding?

Iranian Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, leader of Tehran's highly trained Quds Force, has consulted with the struggling Iraqi military to help them push back against ISIL and stave off further takeovers.

More involvement by either the U.S. or Iran - and cooperation by both parties - has yet to be seen.

Follow USA TODAY for updates as the story develops.

Contributing: Doug Stanglin, Gilgamesh Nabeel and Ammar Al Shamary, USA TODAY, The Associated Press



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: The crisis in Iraq: What you need to know Tuesday

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