Speed Reads

Crisis in Iraq

Militants seize key Iraqi city of Mosul

Islamic militants from the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have seized control of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city and the effective capital of northern Iraq.

"When the battle got tough in the city of Mosul, the troops dropped their weapons and abandoned their posts, making it an easy prey for the terrorists," Osama Nujaifi, the country's speaker of parliament, said. Key government buildings and security bases are reportedly in the hands of insurgents. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared a state of emergency.

"Everything is fallen. It's a crisis," Nujaifi said. "Having these terrorist groups control a city in the heart of Iraq threatens not only Iraq but the entire region."