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Rediff.com  » News » Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

June 12, 2014 08:44 IST

Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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An Al Qaeda splinter group seized control of Mosul, the second biggest city in Iraq, on Tuesday, putting security forces to flight in a spectacular show of strength against the Shi'ite-led Baghdad government.

On Wednesday, the Islamist insurgents seized the city of Tikrit, their second major gain after capturing Mosul on Tuesday. Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein, lies just 150km north of the capital Baghdad, BBC reported.

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Image: A woman walks as families fleeing the violence in Mosul wait at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Erbil.
Photographs: Azad Lashkari/Reuters

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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The capture of the northern city of 2 million by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- Sunni Muslims waging sectarian war on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian frontier -- complements ISIL's grip on key western towns and followed four days of heavy fighting in Mosul and the border province of Nineveh around it.

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Image: Children stand next to a burnt vehicle during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-linked militants in Mosul
Photographs: Reuters

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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More than 50,000 citizens have fled the city in fear as Mosul’s four hospitals have become inaccessible due to the bloody fighting, agencies report. Some mosques have been converted to make-shift clinics.

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Image: Families fleeing the violence in Mosul arrive at a checkpoint in outskirts of Erbil
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Mosul

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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“Those fleeing the fighting, in vehicles or on foot, some bringing only what they can carry in plastic bags, are heading to the city's east or seeking sanctuary elsewhere in Nineveh province or in Iraq's Kurdish region. The rush led to bottlenecks at checkpoints Tuesday as people tried to reach safety in nearby Erbil,” CNN reported.

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Image: A man speaks on a mobile phone as families fleeing the violence in Mosul arrive at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Erbil
Photographs: Reuters

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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American-trained Iraqi government forces fled in the face of the onslaught by the fighter, to which Iraq's parliamentary speaker commented, "The (Iraqi) forces abandoned their weapons and the commanders fled, leaving behind weapons, armoured vehicles. Their positions were easy prey for terrorists."

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Image: A burnt vehicle belonging to the Iraqi security forces is left on a road a day after insurgents seized control of Mosul
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Iraqi , Iraq

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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The heavily armed radicals overran police stations, freed more than 1,000 prisoners from the city jail and captured the city's international airport.

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Image: A family fleeing the violence in Mosul waits at a checkpoint in outskirts of Erbil
Photographs: Reuters
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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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Meanwhile, 48 Turkish citizens, including diplomats, were seized by the militants in a raid on the Turkish consulate in Mosul on Wednesday morning, Turkish officials told CNN.

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Image: An elderly man is assisted as families fleeing the violence in Mosul wait at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Erbil.
Photographs: Azad Lashkari/Reuters

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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Besides the assault on Mosul, dozens of suspected militants on Wednesday seized parts of Baiji, a small Iraqi town in Salaheddin province about 200 kilometers north of capital Baghdad, police officials in Tikrit told CNN.

The Baiji oil refinery -- Iraq's largest -- is still under the control of Iraqi security forces, officials said, the report added.

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Image: A member of Kurdish security forces stands guard as families fleeing violence in the Mosul wait at a checkpoint in outskirts of Erbil
Photographs: Reuters

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Photos: When militants forced 50,000 Iraqis out of their homes

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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki described the assault on Mosul as a "conspiracy" to destabilise the country and called on Iraqis to "stand as one united front."

A day earlier, the pm asked for parliament to declare a state of emergency and for volunteers to pick up guns and bolster the army. He also requested help from the international community.


Image: Damaged vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are seen during clashes between Iraqi security forces and al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Mosul
Photographs: Reuters

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