Iraq is carrying out a new plan to protect the capital, Baghdad, against a major militant offensive pushing closer to the southern regions of the country.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry says the plan consists of intensifying the deployment of forces, increasing intelligence efforts and the use of technology.
Interior Ministry spokesman, Brigadier General Saad Maan, said Iraq has “been in a war with terrorism for a while, and today the situation is exceptional.”
Earlier, government forces clashed with Takfiri militants advancing on the city of Baquba, north of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi army regained full control of Diyala Province after fierce fighting with militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The militants have already captured two provincial capitals this week, Tikrit in Salahuddin Province and Mosul in Nineveh.
Some reports say they are now gathering for a new attempt to take the city of Samarra. Local sources say the militants have approached the security forces in the city, asking them to leave peacefully.
Over the past days, Iraqi armed forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorists, who have threatened to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including the capital. Hundreds of Iraqi volunteers have rushed to army recruitment centers to join the fight against terrorism.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on June 10 that his country was involved in a “war against terrorism,” stressing that Baghdad “will never permit Mosul and Nineveh to remain under the shadow of terror and the terrorists.”