Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki on Tuesday sacked some senior security officers for their failing to halt the advance of Sunni insurgent groups, a statement issued by his office said, Xinhua reported.
"We have decided to punish a number of officers who failed in the performance of their professional and national duties," Maliki said in the statement.
Maliki fired Lieutenant General Mehdi Sabih al-Gharawi, commander of Nineveh Operations Command, his deputy Major General Abdul Rahman Handhal, as well as Chief of Staff and Brigadier General Hassan Abdul Razak, and will take legal actions against them, according to the statement.
The prime minister also fired Brigadier General Hidayat Abdul Rahim, commander of the army's 3rd infantry division. Rahim has been "referred to the military court for his trial in absentia for his escape from the battlefield to an unknown destination."
The statement said that further instructions would be issued later to sack more military leaders and bring them to justice.
Maliki's move came after thousands of Iraqi soldiers and officers fled their posts in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh last Tuesday, which paved the way for Sunni militants, including those who are linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, an al-Qaida offshoot, to seize the provincial city of Mosul and then large parts of provinces of Salahudin and Diyala.