The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham continues to consolidate its grip on Ninewa after gaining effective control of the northern province during an offensive that began earlier last week. Reuters reports that ISIS fighters took over the northwestern town after heavy fighting:

Residents reached by telephone in the city of Tal Afar said it had fallen to the rebels from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after a battle which saw heavy casualties on both sides.

“The city was overrun by militants. Severe fighting took place, and many people were killed. Shi’ite families have fled to the west and Sunni families have fled to the east,” said a city official who asked not to be identified. […]