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Dozens Of Students Taken Hostage At Iraqi University

Militants, believed to be from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, took dozens of students and staff members hostage.
Posted at 2:53 PM, Jun 07, 2014

At least two people are reportedly dead after militants stormed a university in Iraq Saturday morning.

It happened in the town of Ramadi in Anbar province. The BBC reports the militants, believed to be from the Al Qaeda-linked group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, took dozens of students and staff members hostage.

According to CNN, police say the militants were using the students as human shields when authorities were moving in to try and rescue the hostages.

AlJazeera reports the gunmen who stormed the complex simply left, but it's not clear why. Hostages were then able to escape to safety as authorities worked to secure the area.

This hostage situation is the latest in a string of recent sectarian violence in Iraq. Press TV reports 36 people were killed in clashes and two suicide bombings in the province of Nineveh Friday.

On Wednesday, separate attacks killed 20 people and hurt 50 others. Overall, the UN says about 900 people were killed in the country last month, with violence at its highest level in Iraq in seven years.

Sky News says the violence is largely fueled by anger from Iraq's Sunni population against the Shia-led government. Continuing violence in neighboring Syria has also added to the unrest. 

The BBC reports this year in Iraq 3,500 people have died in sectarian violence.