As it happened: Iraq Islamist insurgency

Key points

  • Iraqi Kurdish forces say they have taken full control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk
  • Sunni Muslim insurgents vowed to march on to Baghdad, after seizing cities of Mosul and Tikrit
  • Parliament delays voting on request to grant PM emergency powers after it fails to reach a quorum
  • Government forces reportedly launch air raids against militants in Tikrit and Mosul
  • The US says it is considering further assistance to Iraq, without giving details.
  • All times GMT

Live text


  • Kerry Alexandra 
  • Taylor Brown 
  • Jasmine Coleman 
  • Alastair Lawson 
  • Helier Cheung 
  • Yaroslav Lukov 
  • Alison Daye 

Last updated 12 June 2014

BREAKING 16:50 Breaking News

President Barack Obama says that Iraq will need "additional assistance" from the US to push back the insurgents. "I don't rule anything out," he says.


Hello and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the Islamist insurgency in Iraq. The militants - led by an al-Qaeda offshoot called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) - are continuing their offensive after capturing two major cities earlier this week.


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has vowed to fight back against the insurgents. He has also called on parliament to declare a state of emergency.


Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish forces say they have taken full control of the northern oil-reach city of Kirkuk to protect it against the Sunni insurgents.


The insurgents are believed to be attempting to push further south, to Baghdad and regions run by Iraq's Shia Muslim majority. In a video recording, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani reportedly told fighters to "march towards Baghdad" because they had "an account to settle".


Meanwhile, in neighbouring Iran the Supreme National Security Council will meet later on Thursday to discuss the crisis in the region, Iran's official news agency Irna says.


Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

Are British jihadists among the ISIS fighters who've taken over Mosul and other cities in Iraq? Earlier this week the indications were that all UK jihadists with ISIS were still in Syria, not Iraq, but that could now be changing.


The Iraqi army appears to have fled Kirkuk. "The whole of Kirkuk has fallen into the hands of peshmerga (local Kurdish fighters)," Kurdish spokesman Jabbar Yawar told Reuters. "No Iraq army remains in Kirkuk now."


Iraq's Kurds view Kirkuk as their historical capital, and have long hoped to incorporate the city into their autonomous region in the north.


The militants overran Mosul on Tuesday and then continued moving south.

An Iraqi army uniform lies on the ground in front of of a burnt Iraqi army vehicle near Mosul