Iraq’s president has asked Deputy Parliament Speaker Haider al-Abadi to form a new government, officials say.

Abadi has been nominated as prime minister by Shia parties, instead of the incumbent Nouri Maliki.

But Maliki has made it clear he wants to stand for a third term, and earlier said he intends to take the president to court.

Meanwhile the jihadist insurgency in the north of Iraq continues to cause international concern.

The Kurds there have appealed for international military aid to help defeat militants from the Islamic State group, who have recently made substantial gains, forcing tens of thousands of people from religious minorities from their homes.