Militants Seize Second Largest Iraqi City Mosul
Iraqi police and army forces abandoned their posts in the city of Mosul after militants overran the provincial government headquarters and other key buildings, report ABC News.
The information was confirmed by provincial officials and residents.
Ali Mahmoud, the media official for Ninevah province, said insurgents armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers stormed the provincial headquarters building in Mosul late on Monday night.
The insurgents seized the government complex — a key symbol of state authority — late on Monday, following days of fighting in the country's second-largest city, a former al-Qaida stronghold situated in what has long been one of the more restive parts of Iraq. The gunmen also torched several of the city's police stations, freeing detainees held in lockups.
The fighters are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group that is behind the bulk of the bloody attacks in Iraq and is among the most ruthless rebel forces fighting to topple President Bashar Assad in neighboring Syria. The group has also tried to position itself as a champion for Iraq's large and disaffected Sunni minority.
Several worried Mosul residents reported seeing the gunmen hoisting the black flags inscribed with the Islamic declaration used by ISIL, al-Qaida and other jihadist groups. According to local residents, fleeing the city, Mosul was “hell” and everything was on on fire.