Iraqi Prime Minister Announces Launch of Operation to Retake Mosul from Daesh

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Iraqi television early Monday that the long-awaited offensive to retake the Daesh stronghold in Iraq has begun.

Members of the Shi’ite Badr Organisation undergo training before the upcoming battle to recapture Mosul in Diyala province, Iraq September 27, 2016 © AP Photo/ Stringer Major Offensive: More Than 60,000 Iraqi Troops Preparing to Retake Mosul The offensive, expected to be bloody, is predicted to last for weeks, if not longer, experts say. Violence has sparked outside the city in recent days, and a strike on Sunday on one of Mosul’s main bridges was seen as one of several indications the battle’s launch was imminent. Iraqi soldiers guard their base in Makhmour, after it was freed from control of Islamic State, south of Mosul, April 17, 2016 © REUTERS/ Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo Iraqi Air Forces Drop Leaflets Over Mosul to Warn Civilians of Coming Offensive On Saturday, reports emerged that US howitzers deployed about 13 miles from the Mosul’s city center opened fire against Daesh positions while the US-led coalition carried out a number of airstrikes. Leaflets declaring “Victory Time” were reportedly dumped over the city on Sunday. US troops are said to be playing a “supporting role” in the offensive, with the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters making up the bulk of the 30,000-strong force.

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