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Iraqi forces

Iraqi army helicopter crash kills seven, military says

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi army helicopter crashed during a routine flight on Sunday, killing all seven people on board, a military statement and Iraqi air force officers said. The Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter went down near the southern province of Kut, the statement said. Two pilots and five army officers were killed, Iraqi air force officers told Reuters. A technical malfunction caused the crash, the military statement said. Iraq is slowly rebuilding its air force, once one of the world’s largest, after the U.S.-led invasion…

Islamic State on verge of defeat after fresh losses in Syria, Iraq

BEIRUT/ERBIL: Islamic State ’s self-proclaimed caliphate was on the verge of final defeat on Friday, with Syrian government forces capturing its last major city on one side of the border and Iraqi forces taking its last substantial town on the other. The losses on either side of the frontier appear to reduce the caliphate that once ruled over millions of people to a single Syrian border town, a village on a bank of the Euphrates in Iraq and some patches of nearby desert. Officials on both sides of the border said its…

Iraqi forces complete Kirkuk province takeover after clashes with Kurds

BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq: Iraqi forces on Friday took control of the last district in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk still in the hands of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters following a three-hour battle, security sources said. The district of Altun Kupri, or Perde in Kurdish, lies on the road between the city of Kirkuk - which fell to Iraqi forces on Monday - and Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq that voted in a referendum last month to secede from Iraq against Baghdad’s wishes. A force…

Iraqi forces retake most of Tal Afar from Islamic State: military

BAGHDAD/ERBIL: Iraqi forces have retaken almost all of Tal Afar, Islamic State’s stronghold in the country’s northwest, the Iraqi military said on Sunday. After just eight days of fighting, all 29 neighborhoods in Tal Afar city had been taken back from the militant group, the military said in a statement on Sunday. However, fighting was ongoing in al-’Ayadiya, a small area 11 kilometers northwest of the city, where militants who fled the district’s city center were hiding out, Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General…

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces capture al-Hurriya bridge in Mosul, spokesman says

MOSUL: U.S.-backed Iraqi forces on Monday captured Mosul's al-Hurriya bridge, which leads to the Islamic State-held old city center from the south, a military media officer told Reuters. The al-Hurriya bridge is the second to be secured by the Iraqi forces in the city, after securing one located further south, in the offensive that started on the western part of Mosul on Feb. 19. "We control the western end of the bridge," said a senior media officer with Rapid Response, the elite unit of the interior ministry leading…

Daesh leader Baghdadi in audio message says no Mosul retreat

BAGHDAD: Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on his fighters to resist as Iraqi forces were poised to enter the city of Mosul where he declared a "caliphate" two years ago. "Do not retreat," said a voice presented as belonging to the leader of the Islamic State group in an audio message released early Thursday by the IS-affiliated Al-Furqan media. "Holding your ground with honour is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame," he said in the message, his first in more than a year. "To all the…

Iraq forces fight way into Mosul

MOSUL: Iraqi forces fought their way into jihadist-held Mosul on Tuesday, the military said, as a top commander declared the "true liberation" of the city from the Islamic State group had begun. Just over two weeks into the massive offensive to retake Mosul -- IS's last major stronghold in Iraq -- soldiers managed to push within city limits. Troops had "entered the Judaidat Al-Mufti area, within the left bank of the city of Mosul," said the Joint Operations Command. Mosul is split by the Tigris River, with the…

Iraq forces launch operation to cut Mosul off from Syria

AL QAYYARAH, IRAQ: Iraqi paramilitaries launched an operation Saturday to retake the town of Tal Afar from the Islamic State group and cut militant supply lines from Mosul to Syria, a spokesman said. Forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi, a paramilitary umbrella organisation dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias, have largely been on the sidelines since the operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group was launched last week. "The operation aims to cut supplies between Mosul and Raqa and tighten the siege of (IS) in…

Islamic State attacks Kirkuk as Iraqi forces push on Mosul

BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Islamic State launched a major counter-attack on the city of Kirkuk on Friday as Iraqi and Kurdish forces pursued operations to seize territory around Mosul in preparation for an offensive on the militants’ last major stronghold in Iraq. Islamic State's assault on Kirkuk, which lies in an oil- producing region, killed 18 members of the security forces and workers at a power station outside the city, including two Iranians, a hospital source said. Crude oil production facilities were not targeted and the…