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Published: Thursday June 12, 2014 MYT 3:05:02 AM
Updated: Thursday June 12, 2014 MYT 3:05:02 AM

NATO holds emergency meeting on Iraq crisis at Turkey's request

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO ambassadors held an emergency meeting at Turkey's request on Wednesday on the situation in northern Iraq, where Islamist militants have seized swathes of territory and taken 80 Turkish citizens hostage.

"Turkey briefed the other allies on the situation in (the Iraqi city of) Mosul and the hostage-taking of Turkish citizens, including the consul general," a NATO official said.

He said the meeting was held for informational purposes and not under Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty, which permits a member of the 28-nation alliance to ask for consultations with other allies when it feels its security is threatened.

"Allies continue to follow events very closely and with grave concern," the official said.

He said attacks by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul represented "a serious threat to the security of Iraq and to the stability of the region".

NATO has not received any request for help from the Iraqi authorities related to the latest developments in Mosul, the official said.

Ankara has twice invoked Article 4 in 2012 to ask for consultations with its NATO allies over the Syria conflict.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft)

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