Half a million Iraqis flee Mosul, ISIL seize more cities-UPDATED

The Irbıl Governorate and the UN are setting up a camp for Mosul residents taking shelter in the city after escaping the clashes.

Half a million Iraqis flee Mosul, ISIL seize more cities-UPDATED

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hundreds of housands of residents have fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and taken shelter in Duhok and Irbil provinces after the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) reportedly seized Iraq's second-largest city.

The residents gathered at a security checkpoint between Irbil and Duhok which is controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga troops, who distributed food and water to them.The Irbil Governorate and the officials from the United Nations are establishing a camp for the families who came from Mosul.

Rizgar Moustafa, the district governor of Khabat in northern Iraq, told AA that the fighting in Mosul had intensified, forcing thousands to come to Irbil.

He added that they did not let entry into city center as there were too many people seeking shelter.

In the meantime, a government official from Iraq’s Kurdish regional government claimed that the armed force of the central Iraqi government "handed down" Mosul without showing any resistence against ISIL militants.

"Two commanders of Iraq's land and air forces along with some high military officials who came to Mosul to steer the operations against the militant group abandoned their helicopters and came to Irbil via land route," said the Kurdish government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He further claimed that Mosul Governor Asil al-Nujaifi was not in his office as stated by his brother and Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, but came to Irbil on Tuesday evening to depart for Baghdad along with other commanders in the city by air.

Mosul has been home to violent clashes between the Iraqi security forces and ISIL militants since Friday, which left scores of people dead.

Outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said earlier Tuesday that Iraq had been placed on "maximum alert" after ISIL militants seized control of Mosul, the country's second-largest city.

Iraq's parliament will also hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss ongoing "security chaos" in the northern city of Mosul and across the country.

ISIL march on to other cities

Militants from the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) have reportedly seized more areas in northern Iraq, one day after they had captured Mosul, the country's second largest city.

Officials in Suleiman Bek town in Saladin province said that scores of ISIL militants had poured in as police forces abandoned their posts.

Taleb al-Biati, a local official, told Anadolu Agency that an unspecified number of policemen were killed and injured in clashes with the militants near the road connecting Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Shalal Abdoul, police commander in the nearby Tuz Khormato town, also in Saladin, said that enforcements of Kurdish peshmerga forces were deployed to defend the town against any possible attack by ISIL gunmen.

A police source had told AA Tuesday that ISIL militants had advanced toward Tikrit, the provincial capital of Saladin.

"ISIL militants seized control of the municipal council of al-Shurqat town, 300km north of Baghdad, and several police buildings," policeman Omar al-Jabouri told AA.

Meanwhile, a security source in the adjacent province of Kirkuk, also in northern Iraq, said that unidentified gunmen had captured several government and security sites in the west of province.

"Security troops had abandoned their sites, allowing ISIL militants to advance into the province without fighting and capture the police and local administration buildings," the source, who asked not to be named, told AA Wednesday.

The head of Hawija town, around 70km southwest of Kirkuk, said it had fallen in the hands of ISIL militants.

"We left the town at night," Hussein al-Jabouri told AA.

"Police and army troops were manning the government buildings but then orders came to withdraw, which gave ISIL elements the chance to easily capture the town and even stage a parade in its streets," he added.

"Dozens of ISIL militants have raised their flags on the police and government buildings in the town," al-Jabouri said.

Other areas in western Kirkuk province were also captured by the militants, he added.

Turkey intensifies efforts to rescue abducted drivers

Turkey has activated the diplomatic and political channels to save the Turkish lorry drivers who had been abducted in the Iraqi city of Mosul by militants, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday.

Turkish minister said 28 Turkish lorry drivers transporting fuel to a thermal power plant were captured by militants after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters raided the plant in the Gyarah region of Mosul -- Iraq's second-largest city -- where ISIL reportedly assumed full control early Tuesday.

"We are currently in a busy traffic of exchange [with authorities] to ensure the rescue of the drivers as soon as possible. There has been a continuous exchange between Ankara, Irbil, Baghdad, Tehran, Washington and Mosul in the last 24 hours," Davutoglu told Anadolu Agency during his official visit in the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Davutoglu said they confirmed that the drivers were in good condition.

"Several radical terrorist groups who are trying to fill and benefit from the security gap in Iraq and Syria are willing to prove themselves," said Davutoglu, referring to Monday's twin suicide bombing at a security checkpoint in Iraq's predominantly Turkmen-populated town of Tuz Khormato that killed at least 32 people and injured 110 others.

Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2014, 10:22
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