able to strike at will.
In Mosul, along with the cities of Samarra and Ramadi, the militants have stormed police stations, government offices and even a university.
With the fighting on Tuesday, the government faced the possibility of losing another major Iraqi city to extremists whose stated goals include erasing the border with Syria and establishing an Islamic state that transcends both.
With its soldiers on the run, the Iraq government appeared to face a deep challenge in regaining control of Mosul, a stronghold for extremist groups linked to Al Qaeda and a hub of financing for militants.
The army responded to the rout on Tuesday by bombing at least one military base that had been captured by the militants, but there was no immediate sign of a broader offensive to reclaim the city.