The US has led international condemnation of the seizure of the Iraqi city of Mosul by Sunni Islamist insurgents.
Around 150,000 civilians are thought to have fled as Iraqi troops and police left their posts when hundreds of jihadists over ran the country’s second biggest city.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency and for there to be a “general mobilisation” of civilians to fight the militants.
He said there had been a total collapse of the country’s security forces.
The fall of Mosul is a serious blow to Baghdad’s efforts to fight Sunni militants who have regained ground and momentum in Iraq over the past year.
Despite Washington having supplied large amounts of weaponry to Iraqi forces since pulling out in 2011, the Iraqi government has failed to heal sectarian divisions and to curb instability spilling over from the Syrian civil war.