Iraqi forces today launched an assault to retake the northern city of Tal Afar from the Islamic State group, after ousting the militants from Mosul last month. Tal Afar lies around 70 kilometres west of second city Mosul, which Iraqi forces recaptured in early July in a major blow to the militants.
In a televised speech early today, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, dressed in military uniform and standing in front of an Iraqi flag and map of the country, announced the start of an operation to free Tal Afar. Several hours after the start of the battle, the federal police said it had retaken the village of Al-Abra al-Sghira west of Tal Afar.
IS militants in June 2014 overran Tal Afar, a Shiite enclave in the predominantly Sunni province of Nineveh, on the road between Mosul and Syria. Abadi said that Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary forces would help army, police and counter-terrorism units to retake Tal Afar.