Rebel Ambush Kills at Least 28 Volunteer Iraqi Soldiers Outside Samarra

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 16 2014 12:54 PM

Rebel Ambush Kills at Least 28 Volunteer Iraqi Soldiers Outside Samarra

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Volunteers in Baghdad (not from the group that was killed in Samarra) on June 16, 2014.

Photo by Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

At least 28 volunteer Iraqi Shiite soldiers were killed in a rebel ambush Sunday outside the city of Samarra; Samarra, 80 miles from Baghdad, is still held by the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, which expects irregular forces to play a significant part in the defense of the country. From the New York Times:

Mr. Maliki has publicly declared his confidence that the volunteers would supplement his beleaguered military, which has been decimated by desertions. Young Shiite men have enthusiastically signed up throughout Baghdad and southern Iraq, racing to the front lines with little training or preparation, since Iraq’s top Shiite cleric exhorted them on Friday to take up arms and defend the country.

The volunteers' convoy was reportedly hit by a roadside bomb, after which rebel forces attacked it with gunfire. The Times identified the rebels as Sunnis, but not specifically as ISIS fighters.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.