Saturday 10 December 2016

Shiite militias launch operation against Isis in town near Mosul

Published 29/10/2016 | 07:41

Iraqi refugees that fled violence in Mosul ride a pick-up truck upon arrival in al-Kherbeh village, northern Aleppo province, Syria October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
Iraqi refugees that fled violence in Mosul ride a pick-up truck upon arrival in al-Kherbeh village, northern Aleppo province, Syria October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
A child plays at a camp for displaced families in Dibaga, near Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A boy carries mattresses at a camp for displaced families in Dibaga, near Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
An Iraqi special forces soldierrests as he sits on a tank in Bartella, east of Mosul, Iraq October 24. 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Iraqi families who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadistds of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, are seen gathering in an area near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILICBULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
Iraqi families, who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadistds of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, are seen gathering on an area near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILICBULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
An Iraqi man shows his wedding picture outside his house on October 24, 2016 in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella, about 15 kilometres (10 miles) east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces retook control of the town from jihadists of the Islamic State group. / AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMEDSAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images
Iraqi families, who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadistds of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, are seen gathering on an area near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILICBULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
Iraqi families, who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against jihadistds of the Islamic State group to retake the city of Mosul, receive food near Qayyarah on October 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILICBULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
A girl stands inside a camp for displaced families in Dibaga, near Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016.(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Shiite militias have launched an attack on the Islamic State group west of the Iraqi city of Mosul but reiterated that they would not enter the Sunni majority city.

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Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the state-sanctioned Hezbollah Brigades, said they launched an offensive on Saturday along with other militias towards the town of Tel Afar, which had a Shiite majority before it fell to IS in 2014.

He said Iranian forces are advising the fighters and Iraqi aircraft are providing air strikes.

Iraq launched a massive operation to retake militant-held Mosul, its second largest city, last week. The involvement of the Shiite militias has raised concerns the battle could aggravate sectarian divisions.

Mr al-Husseini said the militias will focus on Tel Afar and on securing the western border with Syria.

A member of Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces holds his weapon as forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A member of Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces holds his weapon as forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A man holds a child while Civilians leave their houses, as Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fight against Islamic State militants, in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A newly displaced woman runs after she jumped over a back wall and rushed to grab humanitarian packages, as smoke rises from a burning oil refinery at a processing centre in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces collect villagers for preliminary investigation before taking them to displaced people camps in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A member of Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces in a military convoy flashes a victory sign as forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5½ miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Civilians leave their houses, as Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fight against Islamic State militants, in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

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