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Tags: ML | Iraq | The | Latest

The Latest: IS Attacks Convoy near Mosul

The Latest: IS Attacks Convoy near Mosul

Saturday, 22 October 2016 08:23 AM

KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) — The Latest on developments in Iraq where Iraqi forces and their allies launched a major offensive this week to retake Mosul, the country's second-largest city from the Islamic State group (all times local):

1:31 p.m.

Islamic State militants have launched a rocket and opened fire on an Iraqi convoy near a town that was recently retaken from IS as part of the offensive against militant-held Mosul.

The Iraqi special forces in the convoy returned fire after being attacked on Saturday. No one was wounded in the exchange, but it highlighted the dangers Iraqi forces face in areas that have recently been retaken from the militants.

Iraqi forces announced that Bartella, some 15 kilometers (nine miles) east of Mosul, had been retaken on Thursday, but the troops are still coming under fire from nearby areas.

Inside the town, a road extending more than 100 meters (yards) was completely demolished, with all the homes on either side reduced to rubble. IS graffiti was scrawled across the walls, and the militants appear to have renamed streets and neighborhoods after famous fighters during the more than two years they controlled the area.

The graffiti left by the Sunni extremists also denigrated Iraq's Shiite majority.

— Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Bartella, Iraq

12:38 p.m.

U.S. military officials say that a fire at a sulfur plant in northern Iraq set by Islamic State militants on Thursday is creating a potential breathing hazard for American forces and other troops at a logistical base south of Mosul.

Two officials said that while the fire was set two days ago in Mishraq, the winds shifted earlier Saturday, sending the smoke south toward Qayara West air field. The base is being used by troops as a staging area for the fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

They said troops at the base are now wearing protective masks because of the breathing concerns.

Officials said air samples have been sent to the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency and analysis is ongoing to determine what, if any, concerns may result. They estimate it could take two to three days to put the fire out.

—Lolita Baldor in Baghdad

11:14 a.m.

The Iraqi army says the 9th Division has pushed into a town southeast of the Islamic State-held city of Mosul and raised the Iraqi flag over a government compound in the town's center.

The army claimed to have taken the town of Hamdaniyah, also known as Qaraqosh and Bakhdida, on Saturday, but was likely still facing pockets of resistance in and around the town. Similar past announcements have often proved premature.

Two officers from the 9th Division confirmed troops had captured the government compound and raised the flag over it. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Hamdaniyah is around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mosul. Iraqi forces launched a wide-scale offensive earlier this week aimed at retaking Mosul, the country's second largest city, which fell to IS in 2014.

— Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Khazer, Iraq

9:31 a.m.

The Iraqi army's 9th Division has launched a new push to retake a town near Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The Joint Military Operation Command said Saturday that troops were advancing on Hamdaniyah, also known as Bakhdida and Qaraqosh, to the southeast of Mosul. The operation is part of a massive offensive launched Monday aimed at liberating Iraq's second largest city, which fell to IS in 2014.

Hamdaniyah is believed to be largely uninhabited. IS has heavily mined the approaches to Mosul, and Iraqi forces have had to contend with roadside bombs, snipers and suicide truck bombs as they have moved closer to the city.

Iraqi forces are now around 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Mosul. The operation to retake the city is expected to take weeks, if not months.

9:12 a.m.

Iraqi police say a massive Islamic State assault on targets in and around the northern city of Kirkuk has come to an end after a day and night of heavy clashes.

Brig. Gen. Khattab Omer said Saturday that all the attackers were killed or blew themselves up. The area around the provincial headquarters, where the fighting was heaviest, was quiet Saturday morning.

It was not clear how many militants took part in the assault, which appeared to be aimed at diverting attention from the IS-held city of Mosul, around 170 kilometers (100 miles) away, where Iraqi forces are waging a major offensive.

The militants killed 13 workers, including four Iranians, at a power plant north of Kirkuk, and a local television reporter was killed by a sniper in the city.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


MiddleEast
The Latest on developments in Iraq where Iraqi forces and their allies launched a major offensive this week to retake Mosul, the country's second-largest city from the Islamic State group (all times local):1:31 p.m.Islamic State militants have launched a rocket and opened...
ML,Iraq,The,Latest
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2016-23-22
Saturday, 22 October 2016 08:23 AM
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