Mosul: Iraqi security forces on Saturday freed a town from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in the south of the group’s stronghold of Mosul, as a major anti-IS offensive continued to seize more ground around the city, a security source said.
 
The federal police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units managed to liberate the central part of the town of Shoura and raised the Iraqi flag on the local government building after fierce clashes with IS militants since the early morning hours, a source from the Operations Command of Nineveh Liberation told Xinhua news agency on condition of anonymity.
 
The troops backed by Iraqi and US-led coalition aircraft destroyed at least ten booby-trapped vehicles and killed dozens of militants, the source said.
 
Also on Saturday, the paramilitary units of Hashd Shaabi in the morning launched a large-scale operation and advanced on three routes toward the town of Tal-Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, according to a statement by the Hashd Shaabi’s media office.
 
Tal Afar, which used to have both Sunni and Shiite Turkoman villagers, as well as other minorities of Kurds and Arabs, fell to the IS in 2014.
 
On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city.
 
So far, the Iraqi security forces have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul, and made progress on other routes around the city, preparing to storm the city and drive out the IS militants.