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Iraq forces launch assault to retake west Mosul

OREIJ, Iraq: Iraqi forces launched an offensive on┬ámilitants defending Mosul's west bank Sunday, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the country's second city. They swiftly retook two villages and set their sights on Mosul airport, which lies just south of the city, marking a new phase in the offensive, Iraq's largest military operation in years. The Islamic State group has put up stiff resistance to defend Mosul, the city where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a…