In reaction to the seizure of the country’s second largest city by insurgent groups in the early hours of Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki has declared highest alert in the country and called for emergency session for the parliament to declare state of emergency to confront the terrorist groups.
“The Council of Ministers declares the highest alert and mobilize all the potentials to confront the current challenges,” Maliki said in the statement broadcast by the state-run Iraqiya channel.
He said that the serious situations in the country entails the Council of Ministers and the Presidency to ask the parliament to ” declare the state of emergency and general mobilization.”
Maliki also called on the international organizations, including the United Nations, Arab league and European Union and others to support Iraq and its stance in fighting terrorism. In addition, he called on the neighboring countries to control their borders and to prevent infiltration of terrorists into Iraq.
Moreover, Maliki called on Iraqis to join the security forces to participate in defending their country.
Atheel al-Nujaifi, the provincial governor told al-Arabiyah satellite channel that “the gunmen took control of the left and right sides of Mosul except for small pockets.” The left and right sides of the city refer to east and west banks of the Tigris River which bisects the city of Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Nujaifi said that the top army officers who came recently from Baghdad to supervise the battles suddenly withdrew with their troops from the left side which was under control of the security forces.
Since Friday morning, bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of gunmen who took control of several neighborhoods in western part of Mosul.
Nineveh is a Sunni-majority province and its capital Mosul has long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militants, since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.