Deadly violence as forces struggle to contain ISIS

Explosions rocked the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk Saturday, killing more than 30 people and injuring dozens.

The bombing appears to be targeting Kurdish forces, which have struggling to contain the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and prevent militants from taking more territory.

Thousands of Kurdish fighters are deployed in the north, but they're still no match for the well-armed and well-financed ISIS.

"We need weapons to make the battle equal," one Kurdish fighter said.

Even as the U.S. considers expanding its military operation against ISIS in Iraq and into Syria, the airstrikes against the terrorist group have not addressed Iraq's larger problem: escalating sectarian violence.

On Saturday, other bombings across Iraq killed nearly a dozen people, apparent revenge for a deadly assault on a Sunni mosque Friday.

As a result, two influential Sunni politicians pulled out of talks with the main Shiite alliance, making it even more difficult for Iraq's new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to form a unified government.

U.S. officials have long maintained that it will be impossible to defeat ISIS without a strong central government in Iraq and are working to enlist regional allies in the that effort.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on Friday called on Iraq's political leaders to pull together. He said defeating ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, has to be a "team effort."

"Ultimately they are the ones who are going to have to work to evict ISIL from their communities," Rhodes told reporters. "And, again, their efforts to form an inclusive government in Iraq, I think, will go a long way towards enlisting the support of those communities."

The State Department has been in contact with several Iraqi leaders Saturday. A senior State Department official told CBS News that the fallout from Friday's deadly mosque attack has been the first major test for Iraq's new prime minister and so far the U.S. has been impressed with his leadership during this very difficult time.

  • Julianna Goldman On Twitter»

    Julianna Goldman is a CBS News correspondent based in the Washington bureau.

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