Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched a fresh offensive against Islamic State (IS) forces on Sunday as part of a campaign to capture Mosul, the militants’ de facto capital in Iraq, Reuters reported.
The advance began after heavy shelling and air strikes by a US-led coalition against IS forces, the report said.
A Peshmarga commander was quoted as saying that a dozen villages had been taken from the militants as Kurdish forces headed toward Gwer, 40 kilometers southeast of Mosul.
IS said in a statement that two car bombs driven by suicide fighters were detonated in one of the villages to block advancing Kurdish forces, causing casualties.
Authorities in autonomous Kurdistan gave no toll for the fighting, other than confirming the death of a Kurdish TV cameraman and the injury of another journalist, Reuters said.
Mosul is the largest urban center under the militants’ control, and had a pre-war population of nearly 2 million.
Its fall would mark the effective defeat of IS in Iraq, Iraqi authorities have said.
It was from Mosul’s Grand Mosque in 2014 that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” spanning regions of Iraq and Syria.
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