27 IS members killed in western Mosul, mass grave found

Members of the Iraqi rapid response forces fire a missile toward Islamic State militants during a battle in the south of Mosul, Iraq February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Mosul ( Twenty-seven Islamic State members were killed Monday in airstrikes and gunfights with security forces in western Mosul, while a new mass grave was found.

BasNews quoted Maj. Ammar Qassem, from the Iraqi army, saying that clashes broke out between Iraqi forces and IS members near the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul. He said the fights left dead 17 militants of multiple Arab and foreign nationalities.

He added that the troops ran into a mass grave of former police agents executed by IS members. The victims belong to residents of Baaj and Tal Afar, according to ID cards found with the relics.

Also on Monday, the Joint Operations Command said fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 senior IS leaders when they pounded group offices in western Mosul. Basnews quoted Col. Khodeir Saleh saying the strike targeted IS vigilantism and treasury bureaus in western Mosul, but did not mention the exact location of the strikes.

According to Saleh, the militants set fire to 12 medical storehouses and a blood bank near the Nineveh health department in retaliation for the strikes.

Iraqi government forces launched an offensive in February to retake western Mosul from Islamic State militants, having recaptured the eastern side of the city in January.

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