ISIL seizes Mosul, parts of Kirkuk
Militants have seized several areas in Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk following the capture of the neighboring Nineveh province.
On Tuesday, militants of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took six different areas of Kirkuk province, police Colonel Ahmed Taha said.
The report followed ISIL’s capture of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, which has forced thousands of people to escape.
"All of Nineveh province fell into the hands of militants," parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi said at a press conference in the capital Baghdad.
The militants took control of the government headquarters, security bases, and important buildings of the city. According to the country’s Defense Ministry, special forces are being deployed to Mosul to face the militants.
Local sources said nearly half a million escaped with many seeking refuge in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Many others were waiting in their cars at a checkpoint in Aski Kalak, west of Arbil, capital of the Kurdish region.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called on the parliament to declare a state of emergency.
The Iraqi premier also asked the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League to help the country fight the terrorists.
Fierce clashes had been reported between Iraqi forces and ISIL militants in the town of Rashad near Kirkuk, located in the southeast of Mosul.
Violence also raged elsewhere in the country with bombings and shootings across the country.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry has said that militants have launched an open war in Iraq with the aim of pushing the Middle Eastern country into chaos.