Tal Afar (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi warplanes killed more than 30 Islamic State militants west of Mosul on Monday as operations turn focus to the remaining pockets in Nineveh province.
A statement by the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said Iraqi fighter jets targeted IS gatherings in Mahalabiya Qadisiya and Qalaa regions in Tal Afar, a major IS stronghold held by the group since 2014.
The strikes destroyed communication facilities and IED workshops belonging to the group, according to the statement.
Iraqi government forces continue to clear western Mosul for residual IS pockets since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over the militant group in Mosul last week, ending an eight-month-old campaign backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops.
Iraqi troops recaptured the eastern side of Mosul late January and aimed at the western section in mid February.
The medieval Old City was the birthplace of the Islamic State’s self-styled “Caliphate” from where the group’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the group’s control over a third of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
The Joint Operations Command, which spearheaded the campaign against IS, said Saturday that more than 25000 Is members had been killed since operations to retake Mosul launched in October.