File - A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul in this June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
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In the past week, Sunni militants who overran the city of Mosul last month have rounded up between 25 and 60 senior ex-military officers and members of former dictator Saddam Hussein's banned Baath Party, residents and relatives say.Tribes and former loyalists of Saddam's Baath Party were eager to hit back at Iraq's Shiite leaders, even if they did not share ISIS' vision of a caliphate.Shiite parliamentarian Haidar Abadi said ISIS was taking pre-emptive action to head off potential challenges.Nujaifi estimated that around 2,000 Mosul residents had signed up to join ISIS as fighters since they took the city, but speculated that career army officers and die-hard Baathists were unlikely to be won over.Many of those nostalgic for Saddam teamed up with Sunni tribes to fight against the predecessor of ISIS, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, during the U.S. "surge" offensive in 2006-2007 .Sunni tribesmen with far looser ties to the old regime could also pose a threat to the militants, but ISIS seems to be focusing for now on Baathists and former army officers.
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