Late Monday, June 9, ISIS forces overran the provincial government headquarters building in Mosul. The Iraqi government no longer has any presence in the city.
The assault on the city began on Friday. Many of the Iraqi security forces are reported to have stripped off their uniforms and fled.
While fighters supported by machineguns and RPGs stormed the government headquarters, residents of Mosul reported police stations set afire, television stations seized, and the city’s prisons emptied. An estimated 1,400 prisoners, mostly ISIS-affiliated rebels, were released from Mosul’s prisons alone. ISIS is claiming that up to 3,000 prisoners were freed from three facilities.
The black flag of ISIS is flying over multiple government buildings in Mosul. Usamah al Nujayfi, speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, has said publicly that police stations, arms warehouses, and the airport have all been seized. The Iraqi government admits that the city is completely under ISIS control. Government employees in Mosul said late Monday that there was no Iraqi Army or Police presence left in the city.
ISIS announced over loudspeakers that they are there “to liberate Mosul, and will only fight those who attack them.”
Nujayfi has also announced that ISIS is pushing out of the city into the Salahaddin Governorate, and have occupied several villages near the Al Shirqat.
Late Monday, before the city fell, Ninewah Governor Atheel al Nujayfi appealed to the people of Mosul. He said, “I call upon the men of Mosul to stand firm in their areas and to defend them against the strangers and to form public committees in their districts to help their people and to protect their areas.” Nujayfi was in a guest house near the provincial headquarters building, but was able to escape before the headquarters was seized.
Mosul was one of the last bastions of ISI before the US’ withdrawal in 2012. Its proximity to Syria allowed the ISI cells to get support from over the border, and with the onset of the Syrian Civil War, the organization has gotten stronger, going from terrorist cells to a relatively professional paramilitary fighting force.
Image courtesy Al Jazeera