BAGHDAD (AP) -- BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi military officials say Sunni militants have captured two border crossings, one with Jordan and another with Syria, as they press on with their offensive in one of Iraq's most restive regions.
The officials said the militants on Sunday captured the Turaibil crossing with Jordan and the al-Walid crossing with Syria after government forces there pulled out.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The capture of the two follows the fall since Friday of the towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba, all of which are in the Sunni Anbar province where militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have since January controlled the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital Ramadi.
Sunni militants have seized another town in Iraq's western Anbar province, the fourth to fall in two days, officials said Sunday, in what is shaping up to be a major offensive in one of Iraq's most restive regions.
Iran's supreme leader meanwhile came out forcefully against any U.S. intervention in Iraq, accusing Washington of fomenting the unrest and appearing to quash recent speculation that the two rivals might cooperate in addressing the shared threat posed by the advance of Islamic extremists.
The militants captured Rutba, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of the Jordanian border, late Saturday, the officials said. Residents were on Sunday negotiating with the militants to leave after an army unit on the town's outskirts threatened to start shelling.
The towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba are the first seized in the mainly Sunni Anbar province since fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and their allies overran the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi earlier this year.
The capture of Rawah on the Euphrates River and the nearby town of Anah appeared to be part of a march toward a key dam in the city of Haditha, the destruction of which would damage the country's electrical grid and cause major flooding.
Taking Rutba gives the insurgents control over the final stretch of a major highway to neighboring Jordan, a key artery for passengers and goods that has been infrequently used for months because of deteriorating security.
Iraqi military officials said more than 2,000 troops were quickly dispatched to the site of the dam to protect it. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Chief military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, acknowledged the fall of the Anbar towns, saying government forces had made a tactical retreat and planned to retake them. He provided no further details.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.