Iraqi soldiers gather to go battle against Islamic State militants south of Mosul , Iraq, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer
Reuters: Iraqi forces open second front south of Islamic State-held Mosul
Iraqi forces opened a second front on Saturday in preparation for an assault on the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, a day after government troops declared victory over the militants in Falluja.
Elite counter-terrorism forces and two army divisions, backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, advanced from a northern refinery town towards an airfield seen as key for a move to retake Mosul, security officials said.
Mosul is Iraq's largest northern city and Islamic State's de facto capital in the country.
Government troops cleared two villages and pressed around 20 kilometers (12 miles) along a desert route west of Baiji, the first advance past the town since its recapture in October, the security officials said.
Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi said the assault marked the launch of operations to push Islamic State out of Qayara, about 115 km (70 miles) north of Baiji, where an airfield could serve as the staging ground for a future offensive on Mosul, a further 60 km north.
Read more ....
More News On The Iraqi Army Opening A New Front Against The Islamic State
Iraq forces eye Mosul after Fallujah victory -- AFP
Iraqi forces targeting Mosul after reclaiming Fallujah from Islamic State -- UPI
Iraqi Forces Open Front Near Mosul After Taking Fallujah -- RFE
As Iraqi forces clear mines in Fallujah, eyes now turn to liberating Mosul -- The National
Analyst: Iraqi army wasting energy in Fallujah, Mosul is the priority -- RUDAW