Tuesday, June 10, 2014
ISIS gains control of Iraq's second largest city
Islamist insurgents overran the headquarters of the provincial government in Iraq's northern city of Mosul late on Monday, making further gains in a fourth day of fighting in the country's second-largest city. The Jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) are now effectively in control of another Iraqi city after Falluja, sources in Mosul said.
The insurgents started their attack on the city on Friday and managed to take control of at least five neighborhoods in the city before they started to march towards the center of the town, where the provincial headquarters are situated, the newspaper Azzaman learned.
Sources in Mosul who refused to be named for security reasons, said ISIS militants had infiltrated the old-city quarter of Meidan and have established a bridgehead close to the Old Bridge over the Tigris River that bisects the city into two halves.
Government troops lack the necessary air support to take out the militants. Their assaults have failed so far to halt the push by ISIS.
Traffic on the highway from Baghdad to Mosul, which is the capital of the Province of Nineveh, has come to a halt as ISIS controls the villages and approaches where the highway winds up.
“If the government does not move quickly by dispatching enough troops and increasing the level of aerial bombing, the indications are that ISIS might occupy the whole of Mosul,” one senior security officer said.
The ISIS attack on Mosul has unnerved Kurdish militias known as peshmerga stationed in the villages and towns to the north and north-west of Mosul. The militias are in de-facto control of the so-called ‘disputed areas’ which administratively fall within the provincial borders of Nineveh province. The sources said the head Kurdistan region, comprising the three provinces of Dahouk, Arbil and Sulaimaniya, has put his militias on high alert.
The fighting has already forced more than 4,800 families from their homes to other parts of the province and beyond, Iraqi deputy Migration and Displacement minister said.