Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency after Islamist militants overran a key northern city and the province of Nineveh.
More than 150,000 people have fled Mosul after vital areas of the city fell into the hands of the insurgents, BBC News reported Tuesday.
Also, troops withdrew from the city as hundreds of jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) overran it. Mosul is Iraq’s second most important city.
The United States has said ISIS threatens not just Iraq but the entire region.
State department spokeswoman Jen Psaki described the situation as “extremely serious” said the US will support a strong, coordinated response to the aggression.
In a televised announcement, Maliki said Iraqi security forces have been placed on a state of maximum alert.
He asked parliament to declare a state of emergency which would broaden arrest powers, allow curfews to be imposed and civilians to be mobilized, the report said.
ISIS has been in control of much of Nineveh province for months. In the past week, it has attacked cities and towns in western and northern Iraq, killing scores of people.
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