Officials: Gunmen overrun Iraq-Syria border crossing

Al Qaim, in the Sunni heartland of Anbar province, reflects the tricky balancing act Iraq's Shi'ite leaders face in Syria, whose crisis is testing the Middle East's sectarian divide. (AFP)

Gunmen took control Tuesday of Al-Qaim, the Iraqi side of a border crossing with Syria, after security forces withdrew, police and army officers said.

The gunmen were loyal to the rebel Free Syrian Army and Al-Qaeda's Syrian front group Al-Nusra Front, which already controlled the Syrian side of the crossing.

Meanwhile, at least 44 prisoners were killed in an overnight militant assault on a police station in the Iraqi city of Baquba, security and medical officials said on Tuesday.

Accounts differed as to who was responsible for the killings, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's security spokesman saying the prisoners were killed by insurgents carrying out the attack, and other officials saying they were killed by security forces as they tried to escape.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41