Iraqi Soldiers, Police Drop Weapons, Flee Posts in MosulPosted: June 10, 2014
For CNN, Chelsea J. Carter, Salma Abdelaziz and Mohammed Tawfeeq report: As security forces ran out, militants overran Iraq’s second-largest city on Tuesday — a stunning collapse that heightened questions about Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki‘s ability to hold onto not only Mosul, but his entire country.
Militants seized Mosul’s airport, TV stations, the governor’s office and other parts, if not all, of the northern Iraqi city.
“I only … saw armed people, but not Iraqi military,” said resident Firas al-Maslawi of his drive through Mosul on Tuesday. “There was no presence of any government forces on the streets, the majority of their posts destroyed and manned by (Islamist militants).”
Other witnesses painted similar scenes, of buildings and boulevards manned not by Iraqi soldiers or police but rather by men they say the extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda splinter group also known by its acronym ISIS.
Mosul wasn’t the only place in the country beset by violence Tuesday, including some focused closer to the capital of Baghdad. Still, what’s happening in this northern Iraqi city is the most serious, given its size, the bloodshed’s scope and the brewing humanitarian situation tied to it.
The numerous reports of police and soldiers running from their posts in Mosul raised the prospect that the Iraqi government did not either have the will or resources to win this and other fights.
In perhaps a sign of just how serious the threat is, al-Maliki took to the airwaves to urge all men to volunteer to fight, promising to provide weapons and equipment. The Prime Minister also urged parliament to declare a state of emergency as part of an effort ” to confront this ferocious attack that harms all Iraqis.”
“We will not allow for the remainder of the … province and the city to fall,” he said in a live speech broadcast on Iraqi state TV.
Already, hundreds on Mosul have been killed since the fighting began five days ago. Tens of thousands more have fled in vehicles and on foot, some of them carrying only what they could in plastic bags. This rush has contributed to bottlenecks at checkpoints as people tried to get to safety in nearby Erbil.
Within Mosul, militants managed to take control of security checkpoints, military bases and a prison, where they freed up to 1,000 prisoners, authorities said. They did so after apparently overrunning Iraqi security forces, whose bodies — some of them mutilated — littered the streets, a Reuters journalist on the ground in Mosul reported.
Some police took off their uniforms, dropped their weapons and ran, according to the journalist.
CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali, Greg Botelho, Jomana Karadsheh, Laura Smith-Spark, Ivan Watson, Schams Elwazer and Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report.
- Militants seize provincial HQ in Iraqi city Mosul (mysanantonio.com)
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- Thousands flee as Islamist militants ‘seize control’ of Mosul, Iraq [pics] (deadcitizensrightssociety.wordpress.com)
- Al-Qaeda In Iraq -vs- Kurdish Peshmerga Commandos Match-Up In Mosul (therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com)
- Thousands flee as Islamist militants ‘seize control’ of Mosul, Iraq [pics] (twitchy.com)