WASHINGTON, June 11 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden on Wednesday pledged support for Turkey's efforts to secure the release of its personnel taken hostage by Iraqi militants.
In a phone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the veep said Washington was "prepared" to support Ankara's efforts to rescue the hostages and would stay in "close touch" with both Turkish and Iraqi governments to address the worsening security situation in Iraq, the White House said in a statement.
Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, or ISIL group, kidnapped 49 people including Turkey's consul general on Wednesday after seizing the Turkish consulate general in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city that fell under the group's control a day earlier.
The United States condemned the actions by the ISIL, which also took Tikrit, another provincial capital, on Wednesday in its renewed clashes with government forces, said Biden, vowing to support Iraqi efforts to combat the ISIL threat.
State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said on Wednesday that Washington was ready to "provide any appropriate assistance" to Iraq to help cope with the "deteriorating" security situation in the country.
The Obama administration expedited the delivery of weapons and ammunition to Baghdad, which included Apache attack helicopters, Hellfire missiles and F-16 fighters, and stepped up training Iraqi security forces early this year, after the ISIL and other rebels occupied Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, big cities in the western province of Anbar.
ANKARA, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Militants kidnapped 49 personnel when seizing the Turkish consulate general in northern Iraqi city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh province, according to a Turkish official statement released on Wednesday.
The statement said a group of armed attackers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) took control of the consulate, and kidnapped 49 staff and family members, including the consul general, the Turkish foreign ministry said in its statement. Full story
BAGHDAD, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Militants seized the Turkish consulate and arrested the consul and diplomatic staff in northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, an official Kurdish website reported on Wednesday.
Terrorists of Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) have taken control of the consulate and seized the consul and a number of consulate staff and guards, according to the official website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a major Kurdish party headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday strongly condemned the violence upsurge at the hands of terrorist groups in Iraq and urged the international community to "unite in showing solidarity" with the Middle East nation as it copes with this serious security challenge.
"The secretary-general strongly condemns the upsurge in violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which have reportedly taken control of the cities of Mosul, Tuz Khourmatu, Beiji and Tikrit," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman. " Terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in undoing the path towards democracy in Iraq as determined by the will of the Iraqi people." Full story