Iraq PM: Seizing of northern Nineveh 'conspiracy'

Photo: Iraq PM: Seizing of northern Nineveh 'conspiracy' / Arabic region

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday that the seizing of northern city Mosul, was a "trick and conspiracy", and that the government will hold perpetrators responsible Anadolu Agency reported.

In a televised speech, Maliki said he will gather an army of volunteers "with strong will" to complement the state army in efforts to regain regions that government forces had lost control of on Tuesday.

He also said his government would hold responsible all police and army forces "who withdrew from the face of terrorism" by abandoning the city ahead of the attack on Mosul by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Maliki said ISIL militants were fighting in Iraq after recently facing losses in Syria, where they are one of the many groups involved in Syria's civil war.

"Review your mistakes and hold yourselves responsible before we do it," said Maliki, addressing Iraqi army commanders who withdrew from Nineveh region.

Earlier Wednesday, the governor of Iraq's Nineveh province Ethyl Najafi held Maliki responsible for the seizing of Mosul and demanded the trial of military leaders.

"Military commanders and the Iraqi army in Mosul vanished," Najafi said. "What happened in Nineveh is a collapse of the Maliki government."

"The absence of security and military forces in Mosul made it easier for ISIL and all groups that reject al-Maliki's policy to overtake the city," he said.

Maliki vowed to restore security and called on parliament to declare a national state of emergency.

ISIL was established shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and was most recognisably known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, under the leadership of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Al Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri cut ties with the group in February 2014 because of a dispute with another militant group, the Al Nusra Front.

ISIL headed south Wednesday and attacked parts of the city of Kirkuk.

Iraqi officials said the Iraqi army regained some control of two cities, Baji and Shirqat, in the Salahuddin province of northern Iraq, which was earlier seized by ISIL.

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