BATTLE FOR MOSUL: Iraq launches offensive to retake ISIS stronghold

10/16/16
 
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from FoxNews,
10/16/16:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced late Sunday the start of a military offensive to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city, from the Islamic State group.

State TV showed a brief written statement announcing the start of the widely anticipated military offensive to drive the terror group out of the northern city home to more than a million civilians.

Broadcasts showed the prime minister, dressed in a military uniform, speaking while flanked by senior officers. State TV broadcast patriotic music within minutes of the announcement.

The thuds of sporadic artillery shelling rumbled across the rolling Nineveh plains in the direction of Mosul, witnesses said.

“This is a decisive moment in the campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat,” said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in a statement. “The United States and the rest of the international coalition stand ready to support Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga fighters and the people of Iraq in the difficult fight ahead. We are confident our Iraqi partners will prevail against our common enemy and free Mosul and the rest of Iraq from ISIL’s hatred and brutality.”

Mosul fell to the Islamic State group in June of 2014, when the extremist group blitzed across northern and western Iraq, overrunning nearly a third of the country and plunging Iraq into its most critical political and security crisis since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

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