Terrorists capture second largest city in Iraq

Terrorists capture second largest city in Iraq

Posted: Updated:
Newly-re-elected Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency after losing the nation's second largest city to terrorists. (Source: FOX) Newly-re-elected Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency after losing the nation's second largest city to terrorists. (Source: FOX)

MOSUL, IRAQ (FOX) - A serious crisis happens on Tuesday in Iraq as the country's second largest city falls to militants.

After days of fighting, the city was taken over overnight by Islamic militants who freed more than 1,000 prisoners.

America spent 10 years of war and thousands of lives in that country.

Iraq's security forces giving up.

The U.S. State Department calls the situation on the ground "extremely serious."

Iraq's parliament is expected to meet on Thursday to decide on a state of emergency.

The Iraqi city of 1.5 million taken over by an al-Qaida splinter group known as the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

Black flags and banners now are flying over government buildings in Mosul.

Iraqi security forces, outgunned and abandoning their posts.

The city's airport is taken over by the Sunni militant group.

Thousands of the city's residents flee to Kurdistan.

"The army dissolved out of fear and they fled and we left and came here," a woman said after fleeing from the fighting.

Newly-re-elected Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has declared a state of emergency.

The parliament speaker calling the takeover "a catastrophe."

The pentagon is in touch with Iraqi leadership.

Adm. John Kirby, a pentagon spokesman, said, "but ultimately this is for the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government to deal with."

U.S. forces withdrew 2.5 years ago.

The White House says it is committed to preserving a partnership.

"There's also a responsibility on the part of the leaders to step up to the plate here," said Josh Earnest, deputy White House press secretary.

The militants now control thousands of square miles of territory.

Mosul is a strategic hub for Iraq's oil industry and a gateway to Syria.

"They (militants) control border crossing points, they control oil resources, mineral resources," said Rami Khoury of the American University of Beirut.

The Obama administration says the ISIL gained strength during the Syrian civil war where militants fought against rebel groups.

"The threat that ISIL is presenting is not just a threat to Iraq or the stability of Iraq, but it is a threat to the region," said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.

Copyright 2014 FOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow