Members of the Iraqi security forces and Shia fighters celebrate after taking control of the town of Hamrin from Islamic State militants, on Tuesday. Two of the Shia militias most feared by Sunnis are taking part in the ongoing offensive to take Tikrit. Photograph:Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters 1:15

Iraq’s offensive against Islamic State fighters holding the strategic city of Tikrit is a test for the Iraqi army, allied Shia militias, the Shia fund(...)

Iraqi security forces and Shia fighters on a tank in the Salahuddin province on Monday. Iraq’s armed forces, backed by Shia militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad  as they launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin. Photograph: Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shia militiamen sought to seal off Islamic State fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns on Tuesday, the second day of Ir(...)

Iraqi government forces and allied militias fire weaponry from a position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from jihadists of the Islamic State group. Photograph: Younis Al-Bayati/AFP/Getty Images. 1:15

Iraq‘s armed forces, backed by Shi‘ite militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad on Monday with an offensive to retake the city of(...)

The scene after a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a restaurant in Baghdad al-Jadida on February 7th, 2015. Photograph: ABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images

At least 34 people were killed in three bombings around Baghdad on Saturday, police said.The attacks came hours before the government was due to lift (...)

Smoke rises during skirmish between Kurdish forces and IS in Mosul, Iraq. The US reports that Islamic State chemical weapons experts Abu Malik was killed in the area during an airstrike.  Photograph: Azad Lashkari/Reuters

An Islamic State chemical weapons expert was killed in a coalition airstrike near Mosul, Iraq, the US said.Abu Malik was killed on January 24th. Mali(...)

Former US president George H W Bush’s latest health scare comes two years after he was struck by illness during the 2012 holiday season when he spent seven weeks in a Houston hospital for bronchitis and related ailments. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Former US president George H W Bush (90) was hospitalised in Houston, Texas, late on Tuesday after experiencing shortness of breath, a spokesman fo(...)

A Kurdish Syrian refugee waits for transport during a sand storm on the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province in September. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s was cited by western powers as one of the justifications for the 2003 invasi(...)

People fleeing Islamic State fighters in Mosul last June arrive at a checkpoint in Irbil, in northern Iraq. Photograph: Kamal Akrayi/EPA

Iraq’s national security adviser Falah Fayadh was in Washington struggling to arrange delivery of US fighter jets to aid the country’s fight against a(...)

A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen through smoke on top of a house in the Syrian town of Kobani yesterday. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Islamic State (IS) is takings its first steps towards building an air force by training pilots to fly captured fighter planes, according to a group(...)

A resident of Tabqa city touring the streets on a motorcycle waves an Islamist flag in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city August 24, 2014. Islamic State militants stormed the air base in northeast Syria on Sunday, capturing most of it from government forces after days of fighting over the strategic location, a witness and a monitoring group said. Fighting raged inside the walls of the Tabqa air base, the Syrian army's last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by IS, which has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. REUTERS/Stringer   (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A few months ago few in the West had heard of Isis, the Sunni militants known at different times as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and as Islamic (...)