The Iraqi army says it has held off a fierce assault by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the city of Ramadi.
The claim comes amid an announcement by the Iraqi government that it will triple its defence budget in an effort to defeat the group.
Ramadi is one of the last major urban areas in the crucial Anbar province under Baghdad's control. ISIL holds thousands of kilometres of territory across Iraq, posing a threat to Kirkuk, Diyala and Salahuddin besides Anbar.
About tripling the defense budget, Michael Gregory (Reuters) reports that Minister of Finance Hoshyar Zebari has stated that the military will take up about 23% of the proposed budget for 2015 and he's also calling "for deep-rooted reforms to stamp out corruption in a military that collapsed in the face of an Islamic State advance."
Yes, by all means, put nearly a quarter of your annual budget into a military machine known for its corruption.
All Iraq News reports Speaker of Parliament Saleem al-Jobouri states the budget should be received by Parliament on Saturday. This is the fourth time he's announced that, for those keeping track.
In addition, Parliament has still not received the 2014 budget.
National Iraqi News Agency adds, "MP, of the Citizen bloc , Hashim al-Moussawi said the House will extend its legislative term in the session of the House of Representatives session will be held on Saturday." al-Moussawi believes that they will receive both the 2015 budget and the 2014 one.
Violence continues in Iraq, not surprising. However, one act of violence yesterday is rather shocking. All Iraq News reports:
The Representative of the Supreme Religious Authority, Ali al-Sistani,and the headmaster of the Jaafariya Religious School in the Pakistani Capital, Islam Abad, was killed by the criminals of the terrorist Jaish Sahaba organization.
When Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's representatives are being killed, it's both shocking and usually a sign that violence is about to increase significantly.
Mike and Marcia updated last night:
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