Al-Maliki slams Sunnis
The sectarian rift in Iraq may have widened Wednesday when Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blamed his political rivals for "coordinating" the crisis.
Al-Maliki, a Shiite, accused Sunnis of collaborating with militants and slammed the call to have a national salvation government that would remove him from power.
"Iraq is facing a cross-border terrorist attack that is supported by some neighboring countries," al-Maliki said in a televised speech.
He appealed to his Shia constituency by saying he is adhering to the wishes of Shiite religious leader Ali Sistani, who called for volunteers to support the Iraqi army and government.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry downplayed al-Maliki's rejection of a salvation government, saying it wasn't something the United States had talked to him about specifically.
To the contrary, he said al-Maliki, is committed to the electoral process and creation of a new government that the United States has supported.
"And he committed to moving forward with the constitutional processes of government formation, and that is precisely what the United States was encouraging," Kerry said. "He also called on all Iraqis to put aside their differences, to unite in their efforts against terrorism."
Meanwhile, a U.S. official told CNN that Iran is flying surveillance drones over Iraq. It's not known from where they are being launched.
Iran is believed to be providing small arms and ammunition to Iraq, as well as providing intelligence to al-Maliki's government, the official said.
Is Baghdad ready for an ISIS attack?
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Baghdad, the eerie emptiness of a major highway raises questions about whether the capital would be prepared for a militant invasion.
The Iraqi military insists it's ready to beat back ISIS if the fighters reach Baghdad.
A post-battle video purportedly shows army forces celebrating a victory over ISIS just west of Baghdad. The bodies of two militants are draped over the hood of a Humvee.
"Look at those ISIS! We killed them!" one man says in the video.
But the opponents are formidable. ISIS fighters have captured cities and towns across Iraq in its effort to create an Islamic state.
And the highway from Baghdad to Abu Ghraib in Anbar province showed few signs of readiness for ISIS.
No tanks or big guns could be seen, CNN's Nic Robertson said. What used to be a thriving roadside marketplace now looks like a deserted wasteland.
It's unclear what lies farther down the highway, but images on the Internet suggest a dire situation. Photos posted by ISIS show two soldiers sitting cross-legged on the ground, guns pointed at their heads.
At least six civilians were killed and 21 wounded Wednesday when an Iraqi military helicopter fired two rockets on a mosque and nearby house in central Ana, in Anbar province, according to police and health officials.