Iraq Loses Control of Its 2nd-Largest City

Police abandon Mosul to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2014 7:29 AM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2014 7:52 AM CDT
Iraq Loses Control of Its 2nd-Largest City
This undated image posted on a militant website in January shows Shakir Waheib, a senior member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), left, next to a burning police vehicle.   (AP Photo via militant website, File)

Fighters believed to be with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took control of the city of Mosul today, as police and military forces fled their bases, leaving weapons, vehicles, and even their uniforms behind for the taking, the New York Times reports. The militants have seized the provincial governor's building, the bases, and most of the central and southern parts of the city, while torching police stations and freeing a jail's population. "They took control of everything, and they are everywhere," said one fleeing soldier. Residents tell the AP that the militants raised the black flag of ISIS.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked parliament to declare a state of emergency in response to the attack, Reuters reports. The speaker of parliament blasted the troops on TV, saying, "When the battle got tough … the troops dropped their weapons and abandoned their posts, making it an easy prey for terrorists. Everything is fallen. It's crisis." There are also reports that the airport has been seized, according to the Washington Post. Experts say the attack could shake US support for Iraq's military. Explains one, "Every time ISIS captures territory, it's a reminder that it does so using weapons that have fallen into the hands of the forces the US is trying to counter in the first place." (More Iraq stories.)

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