BAGHDAD, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki declared on Tuesday highest alert in the country, and called the parliament to approve state of emergency, as insurgent groups took full control of Iraq's second largest city of Mosul.
Maliki said the serious situations in the country entail the Council of Ministers and the Presidency to ask the parliament to " declare the state of emergency and general mobilization."
Following Maliki's statement, the parliament speaker told reporters that the parliament will set an emergency session for the Council of Representatives (parliament) next Thursday "in order to discuss the demand to declare state of emergency to confront the security consequences in Nineveh province."
Earlier in the day, Atheel al-Nujaifi, Governor of Nineveh province, said that insurgent groups took full control of Mosul, Nineveh's provincial capital city, and expanded to other areas after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from the city.
"The gunmen took control of the left and right sides of Mosul except for small pockets," the governor told al-Arabiyah Satellite Channel. The left and right sides of the city refer to east and west banks of the Tigris River which bisects the city.
Nujaifi said that the top army officers who came recently from Baghdad to supervise the battles suddenly withdrew with their troops from the left side which was under control of the security forces.
Osama al-Nujaifi, the parliament speaker and a brother to Nineveh governor, confirmed at a news conference that "all Nineveh province fell into the hands of the militants," referring to the fall of Mosul and other parts of the province.
"The terrorist groups have also seized some helicopters in Mosul airport after the troops fled the battlefield, leaving their arms and armored vehicles in the streets," the speaker said.
Nujaifi also warned that the militant groups have reached to the neighboring Salahudin province, and the military airport in the city of Shirqat in Salahudin is in the hands of the terrorists. The speaker urged the country's "political parties, security forces and the international community to unite to confront those criminals."
He said that the governor is now inside the province and is now building up a force from the (withdrawing) army and police and some paramilitary fighters in an attempt to re-take control of the seized areas in the province.
Since Friday morning, bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of gunmen who took control of several neighborhoods in western part of Mosul.
Nineveh is a Sunni-majority province and its capital Mosul has long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militants.