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Families fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul arrive Thursday at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Arbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Iraqi Kurds took control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday after government forces abandoned their posts. (Reuters)

Iraqi state seems powerless to defend against Islamist advance

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ISTANBUL — The long-predicted dissolution of a centrally controlled Iraq ruled from Baghdad appeared closer to reality on Thursday as radical Islamist fighters advanced through the country with little interference from what remained of Iraq’s disintegrating security forces.

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