Iraq's prime minister has asked parliament to declare a state of emergency over a militant attack in Mosul.
Nouri al-Maliki made the call in a televised news conference Tuesday.
Militants effectively seized control of Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul on Tuesday.
Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts and militants overran the provincial government headquarters and other key buildings, dealing a serious blow to Baghdad's attempts to tame a widening insurgency in the country.
The gunmen torched several of the city's police stations, freeing detainees held in lockups.
The fighters are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group that is behind the bulk of the bloody attacks in Iraq and is among the most ruthless rebel forces in Syria.