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Militants take control of Mosul

June 10, 2014

Militants have seized Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul. Police and army forces abandoned their posts after insurgents overran the northern city, dealing a blow to the government's efforts to stop rebel advances.

Image: Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

The militants launched an overnight attack on Mosul, fighting with police and combat troops, officials said on Tuesday. They took control of the governor's headquarters, television stations and prisons, where they freed detainees. The gunmen also torched several police stations in city, located 360 kilometers (220 miles) north of Baghdad.

"The city of Mosul is outside the control of the state and at the mercy of the militants," an interior ministry official told the AFP news agency.

The militants are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al Qaeda splinter group that has been behind many of the attacks in Iraq.

Meanwhile, 28 Turkish truck drivers were reportedly kidnapped by militants in Mosul. Turkish media reported that the drivers were being held hostage after being captured while transporting diesel fuel from Turkey's southern port of Iskenderun to a power plant in Mosul. A senior Turkish official told the Reuters news agency that the government was investigating the report.

Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province. Militants have launched major operations there and in four other provinces in recent days. The latest violence has killed scores of people and highlighted the Iraqi government's inability to curb the growing insurgency.

Mosul is the second city to fall to militants this year, after the government lost control of Fallujah, near Baghdad, in early January. ISIL and their allies remain in control of that city, as well as other parts of Anbar province, which neighbors Nineveh.

dr/hc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)