June 20 - Iraqis in Tuz Khurmato mourn relatives killed by ISIL militants, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is despatched for Middle East talks. Sarah Toms reports.
Iraqis mourning the deaths of 31 relatives. In a mosque in the northern Shi'ite town of Tuz Khurmato they pray for their dead. They say their loved ones -- men, women and the elderly -- were killed by the militant Sunni group ISIL in an assault on three villages. Scenes like this are being repeated across much of northern Iraq. Since the Islamic movement seized a number of towns and cities in the past week there's been fierce fighting and heavy bloodshed. The relatives here say ISIL fighters attacked first with mortars before setting light to houses and killing residents. The USA is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to Europe and the Middle East for talks to help stabilise the region The US, which is also despatching up to 300 military advisers to Iraq, is urging the Shia-led Iraqi government to be more inclusive. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING: "Make no mistake, ISIL is a threat to Iraq and the entire region. The United States is responding to that threat. But our efforts will only be successful if Iraqi leaders rise above their differences and come around and embrace a political plan that defines Iraq's future through the political process and not through insurgency and conflict." The Iraqi government has been accused of pursuing anti-Sunni policies, pushing some Sunni militants to join ISIL, which is making rapid advances and threatening to tear the country apart.