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Iraq: Nouri al-Maliki threatens deserters with execution amid militant blitz

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Iraq's prime minister threatened his troops with execution if they had abandoned their posts in the face of insurgents attack who swept through northern provinces of Iraq this week.

Speaking to a group of army officers in a televised address from the central city of Samarra, Nouri Maliki promised accountability and punishment for any soldiers who had contributed Tuesday to the swift fall of Mosul, as well as other areas in the country.

"Those who did nothing, and those who clearly abandoned their posts, let them not imagine that they escaped to [safety] in the houses of their families and mothers,” Maliki said, adding that those found to have deserted would be prosecuted “to the utmost, with punishments that rise to execution."

Iraqi army and police units offered little resistance, in many cases shedding their uniforms and abandoning their equipment as they fled the violence, according to reports.