Transcript for Militants Take Over Mosul, Iraq
Fire -- in the street hockey military and insurgents clashing. And now the army is abandoning the city along with a heavily armed military -- Iraq's second largest city. Now in the hands of Sunni militants. Right now the hot spot Mosul Iraq hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York the city and air base that was the center point of the US counterinsurgency strategy. Under general David protect Trieste is now in the hands of insurgents. The city of Mosul in the north of the country taken over in one of the most audacious assaults against the Iraqi Government. Al-Qaeda affiliated militants freed hundreds of other militants from prisons. As they took over police stations banks and government headquarters the BBC's Paul Wood has more. Up to four days of this to Jihad is an -- effectively in control of Iraq's second city. With few million people. -- his fighters seized the government headquarters and the airport late into the -- -- -- and prisoners escaped from one cent. The governor approved cost an appeal for the men of Mosul to resist the militants. Then he fled. Police and soldiers abandoned their tastes too. Many refugees followed them. And and that yes the -- -- -- that the army does sold there was terrifying. They fled so we left to -- -- Other cowboys know what -- up all but don't -- The commanders who in the first to flee leaving the soldiers alone the commanders are to believed that -- -- For the people who have fled they have left their homes and many people lying -- -- on the streets would -- accept peace. You're an almost as Iraq will not accept him says the country's beleaguered prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki wants he's asked parliament to declare a state of emergency -- -- Any citizen who volunteers to fight the militants who get weapons he promises. And got -- -- Plumes of smoke hung over the city from abandoned and looted police station -- The Islamic state crisis we'll have fresh weapons even if they lose -- -- And they do manage to remain here. -- be another step towards that goal of an Islamic Conference obstructing territory in both Iraq and Syria. Paul Wood BBC news favorites. And right now we want to bring in -- -- from the Washington Post from Beirut Lebanon for the latest on this unprecedented attack thank you very much for joining us. Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq how surprising was that the attacks by al-Qaeda related forces and was the army just on prepared. -- I don't the man who attack a few days ago but it did look as though the your security what does it managed to drive them back some in the overnight that changed anything the -- is securities which is just aren't. GG and very fast and the -- whistle went. Nearly 888 stunt and it would -- -- -- that we see on yummy in -- has companions just for a. Talks. Is there any reason why they've -- just fell apart the military base that was captured. Is it well equipped and how worried -- the Iraqi Army about the weapons that it left behind. I think did the court to give weapons into the net behind has to be huge learning how to -- the Iraqi that for the government's planning -- Medicaid and for the people and on the -- -- that. What is it is expanding very into Syria. It we just -- just -- defense top the China and Syria in the hands of an -- -- That we don't know. What other weapons and paying cash it's illegal -- it's about an alarming to and. And -- we've seen the army fleeing and pictures of this but there's also reports that as many as a 150 residents. Also evacuated the city what do you know about that. He's been getting reports of Dutch embassy civilians -- most effective thing going on for a few days happy little Ricky leaving their homes because the -- an interesting place many -- -- -- -- We've heard that the government today -- -- going to Santa refugee council that are. That didn't make me -- just that she's the autonomous region of Iraq. But I cuts that she's relatively calm and it was that feeling he too much and he's just a few miles -- -- just. Tendency -- and -- people in the region. Get an idea about the the group the Islamic group behind this attack. The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria are they well organized and well funded and if so how good. They seem to be extreme weather organized streaming -- I did extremely well but streaming will motivate his -- if -- Qaeda in Iraq the American spent eight -- by watching and hoping to defeat but they were actually happening acting to. It just didn't six -- and that it's meet each is being named it felt it -- state of Iraq and Syria if it's just not. Where -- not to Syria did you you know. Yeah. It's actually to tell her to amount to -- at a statement in his stay in -- part Syria -- sending them home sits on these estimates at school. Administering justice. So today capable of action and every major strategic locations are and the region. Strategic locations and also sums very strategic and important equipment we've seen some photos circulating. -- American humvees that may be used by crisis in Syria. What do we know about any weapons seized and what the government is doing about it. Well we don't know yeah. -- exactly what he's thinking get a busy speculating that photograph of the humvee in the hands of Obama society lives that famous -- -- -- in Syria. With single can be easy to make a lot of difference on the ground -- hard to say but 888. Interesting you know that the US response to. What's going on that in Iraq -- has -- to sales of weapons two -- two on Iraq. Getting to situation it is being shown that the Iraqi Security Forces can't keep -- of those weapons. And that any that they could be fueling the -- of the very forces that the US and that she went to Iraq and the -- -- to fight again. It's what does Iraq's government. Have -- means of a response how could they respond here what is their power. What I think it's Titanic which it took many of whom he said anything about -- you know. And -- began with letting. Let's turn to him until he eventually -- -- to -- many accept American flag he is fifteen to create crisis he -- -- sentenced -- -- -- -- and the situation in. Norris a 20222. Trying to get that to excuse -- he also usually go. Yeah -- electrical popular horses to respond to -- -- that seemed to be a reference to the mission is to compel the government to. There are responsible for fueling sectarian violence and civil courts to be good to see this sectarian divide -- -- acting as well. -- live from the Washington Post thank you very much for joining us from Beirut Lebanon. You can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news at star in this story for exclusive updates on the -- You've been watching international hot spot I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.