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Iraqi troops

Kurds, Iraqi forces in standoff in oil-rich Kirkuk

MARYAM BEIK: Thousands of Iraqi troops were locked in an armed standoff with Kurdish forces in the disputed oil-rich province of Kirkuk as Washington scrambled to avert fighting between its allies in the war against the Islamic State group. The Kurds said Saturday that Baghdad had set a deadline for their forces to surrender positions they took during the fightback against the militants over the past three years. The deadline, originally set for 2:00 am Sunday (2300 GMT Saturday), was extended by 24 hours during a…

Iraqi troops on southern front battle for last town before Mosul

MOSUL: Iraqi troops advancing towards Mosul battled on Saturday for the last town left between them and the Islamic State stronghold to the north, which is already under assault from special forces fighting inside the city's eastern districts. Saturday's attack on Hammam al-Alil, about 15 km (10 miles) south of Mosul, targeted a force of at least 70 Islamic State fighters in the Tigris river town, commander of the Mosul operations Major-General Najm al-Jabouri said. Jabouri said the assault began around 10 a.m. (0700…