- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2014

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has reportedly reached out to America for help with the storming militants and asked for U.S. airstrikes to control the chaos.

The plea for aid comes as leaders in the United States are poised to order a mandatory evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Fox News reported.

Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul has fallen to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda splinter group that seeks to establish a caliphate in Sunni-dominated regions. A spokesman for the group, Abu Mohammed al-Afnani, sent out a 17-minute video on Thursday vowing that Baghdad is next — “so be ready for it,” he said, Time magazine reported.

In an apparent address to other ISIS members, the spokesman said: “Continue your march as the battle is not yet raging. It will rage in Baghdad and Karbala. So be ready for it. Don’t give up a hand’s width of ground you’ve liberated,” CNN reported.

Tikrit is another battle ground that fell to ISIS earlier this week. Iraqi government officials said Thursday, however, they’ve managed to recapture most of the city, and put it back under military control, CNN reported, citing Iraqiya TV.

The devastation has led to Iraq to request U.S. intervention, including a targeted airstrike operation against the Islamist terrorists, CNN reported.

SEE ALSO: Gains by al Qaeda group in Iraq spark fears of a decade’s progress lost

Washington has so far sent about $15 billion in weapons and equipment, and provided substantial military and intelligence training, to Iraq’s government. Several high-ranking U.S. officials now say the situation’s “extremely urgent,” and more aid could be on the horizon — though they did not say to CNN whether that aid would take the form of airstrikes against radicals.

Mosul, where militants have complete control, is home to about 1.6 million residents, mostly of Sunni faith.

U.S. authorities are watching the situation with wary eyes, Fox News reported. An evacuation of the U.S Embassy is a distinct possibility — especially in the wake of Wednesday’s militant raid of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul and subsequent capture of 48 — some of whom are diplomats.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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