7 killed in IS attack on Iraq base

7 killed in IS attack on Iraq base

7 killed in IS attack on Iraq base

Tal Afar, located 30 miles away from recently liberated Mosul, is the last Daesh stronghold in northern Iraq.

But despite losing Mosul, the capital of its self-declared caliphate, in July, the extremist group has continued to launch attacks in areas retaken by Iraqi forces.

Tal Afar is west of Mosul and about 150km east of the Syrian border, sitting along a major road that was a key ISIL supply route. I'm not certain my answer persuaded anyone; the anxiety about ISIS' rapid battlefield gains, newfound ability to mass forces and strike at vulnerable locations, and acquisition of vast military hardware from retreating Iraqi soldiers was palpable.

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Mosul took a heavy toll on Iraqi forces, with as many as 1,400 troops killed and more than 7,000 wounded.

"In the end, it took bulldozers plowing ISIS fighters under the rubble", he recalled, using multiple different acronyms for the extremist group.

The town and its nearby oil refinery, Iraq's largest, were recaptured in late 2015 with air support from a US-led coalition and a host of tribal groups and militias.

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The city is surrounded by Iraqi government troops and Shiite volunteers in the south, and Kurdish peshmerga fighters in the north. "The morale of IS [Daesh] elements in Tal Afar is low after the liberation of Mosul", Mohammadawi said.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said officials believe there are between 1,400 and 1,600 ISIL fighters in the Tal Afar area, many, foreign fighters.

Townsend said the fight for Tal Afar will be a "microcosm" of Mosul, with parts easier and others equally hard. Last month, a senior Iraqi commander and former Tal Afar mayor said that between 1,500 and 2,000 militants and their families remain in the city.

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