Iraq's prime minister calls for state of emergency amid increasing violence
The Iraqi prime minister has asked the parliament to declare a state of emergency after extremist militants took control of the northern province of Nineveh.
The call came hours after Nineveh was captured by a terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Nouri al-Maliki has also called on the UN, EU and the Arab League to help his country fight terrorists.
He also put the Iraqi army on high alert in order to regain control of Nineveh from the militants. The premier has said that Iraq wouldn’t allow the provincial capital of Mosul to remain in the hands of terrorists.
The developments come as the heavily-armed al-Qaeda-linked militants took control of the governor's headquarters, prisons and television stations before capturing the entire city of Mosul.
Witnesses say the shops are closed, security forces have abandoned their vehicles and a police station has been set ablaze.
The militants have also kidnapped 28 Turkish truck drivers there.
Mosul is the second Iraqi city to fall to militants this year, after the government lost control of Fallujah in early January.
Meanwhile, Kurdish Peshmerga forces say they are ready to cooperate with the Iraqi army to protect the borders between the Kurdistan region and the cities of Mosul and Tikrit in Nineveh Province.
Takfiri groups, including the ISIL, are reportedly coming to Iraq from neighboring Syria and Saudi Arabia to undermine security in the country.
The Iraqi prime minister has blamed Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing the Al Saud regime as a major supporter of global terrorism.