Iraqi Insurgents Capture Northern Cities, Move Toward Baghdad

Clashes between Iraqi Security forces and hundreds of Sunni militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, an offshoot of al Qaeda) resulted in the capture of Mosul and Tikrit by ISIL earlier today. Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, was overrun -- Iraqi forces reportedly abandoning their posts, shedding their uniforms and dropping their weapons as they fled the ISIL attacks. Tikrit, about 135 miles closer to Baghdad, was attacked not long after, with little resistance -- and the AFP is reporting fighting now outside Samarra, only 70 miles north of the capital city. The attackers overran a military base, freed hundreds of prisoners, and have seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul, capturing and holding 50 Turkish citizens. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has promised to put a halt to the advances, and called on citizens to take up arms as well.

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