People hold a portrait of Nouri al-Maliki and signs as they gather in support of him in Baghdad August 13, 2014. (REUTERS/Ahmed Saad)
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The United Nations has announced its highest level of emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq in the wake of the onslaught by Islamist militants who have overrun much of the country's north and west and driven out hundreds of thousands from their homes.The Security Council also said Wednesday that it was backing a newly nominated premier-designate in the hope that he can swiftly form an "inclusive government" that could counter the insurgent threat, which has plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011 . Attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and its Sunni militant allies this summer have captured large swaths of land in northern and western Iraq, displaced members of the minority Christian and Yezidi religious communities and threatened Iraqi Kurds in the Kurdish autonomous region in the north.
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