One million Iraqis displaced by ISIL militants: UNHCR
Over 500,000 Iraqis were displaced when ISIL overthrew the city of Mosul (File/AFP)
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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says around one million Iraqis have been uprooted since Takfiri militants launched an attack in the country.
The UN refugee agency made the announcement on Friday, warning that the number of the displaced might rise.
"With the humanitarian situation, we know that there's a million people displaced and it's not always easy to get to all of them," said UNHCR spokeswoman Ariane Rummery.
“What we know is that conflict and violence fuel displacement,” she added.
Over half a million Iraqis were forced out of their home when Mosul fell to the al-Qaeda splinter Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following the displacement of another 500,000 people in the western province of Anbar.
The violence in Anbar broke out on December 30, 2013, when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as “headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda.” The bloodshed later spread to nearby Fallujah.
On June 10, the ISIL militants took control of the Nineveh provincial capital Mosul, in a lightning advance, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital Baghdad.
Iraqi armed forces are preparing to stage a massive offensive from several fronts to push militants out of the cities of Tikrit and Mosul.
Over the past days, Iraqi armed forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorists, who have threatened to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including Baghdad.
However, their advance has been slowed down as Iraqi military forces and volunteer fighters have begun engaging them on different fronts, pushing the militants out of several areas they had earlier overrun.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has lashed out at Saudi Arabia for supporting the ISIL terrorists.