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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rebel Kurds Launch Counterattack

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Ignoring warnings from Iraq and pleas from the United States, Kurdish rebels said they were marching toward northern Iraq's capital Monday after recapturing territory from a rival faction backed by Saddam Hussein.

Iraq and the United States urged the two groups to settle their differences through talks. Baghdad's plea was accompanied by a warning to the advancing faction against "dealing with foreign powers,'' a reference to its ties to Iran.

But the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan appeared unperturbed by the warning and said its forces were heading toward Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan captured Aug. 31 by the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party with Saddam's help.

In Washington, U.S. officials talked to both sides, urging them to settle their differences through negotiations and stating the United States' opposition to others joining in the fighting. "We see no constructive role for either Iraq or Iran in this conflict,'' White House spokesman David Johnson said.