Iraq: Kurds launch offensive east of Mosul

ARBIL: Iraq’s Kurdish peshmerga forces on Sunday launched an offensive aimed at retaking areas east of Mosul, the Islamic State’s main hub in the country, a statement said.

The “peshmerga-led ground offensive, backed by international coalition warplanes” started before dawn, the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) said.

It said the operation involved around 5,500 peshmerga and was aimed at retaking several villages from the IS near Khazir, east of Mosul.

“This is one of the many shaping operations expected to increase pressure on ISIL (IS) in and around Mosul in preparation for an eventual assault on the city,” the KRSC said.

Six hours into the operation, peshmerga forces had retaken the village of Mufti, the statement said.

The fresh push against the jihadist organisation comes a week after Iraqi forces launched an operation against Fallujah, IS’s only other major urban hub in Iraq.- AFP