Arrangements for Tal Afar invasion concluded: Defense Ministry

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi troops in Tal Afar, west of Mosul.

Baghdad ( The Iraqi Defense Ministry has declared concluding arrangements ahead of military invasion of Tal Afar, located west of Mosul.

In a statement, the ministry said all military units have become ready to take part in the battle along with the armed forces.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), according to the ministry, “will actively engage into the battle,” as well as the Iraqi fighter jets, which started few days ago shelling Islamic State’s locations and main headquarters in Tal Afar.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant-General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, said that the zero hour has been set to launch liberation battle of Tal Afar, adding that the duration of the battle is not a priority for the troops.

Saadi indicated the geographic nature of the town, which is different from any other place, in addition to the few number of Islamic State militants, which could make the battle easy.

“The plan will focus on ensuring safety of civilians as well as troops ahead of liberation,” Saadi said adding that detailed information on number of the militants and their havens in the town was collected.

“There could be resistance by the group in the beginning,” he added.

Tal Afar is one of the important strongholds still held by IS in Nineveh since August 2014, when the militants occupied a third of Iraq to proclaim its self-styled “caliphate”.

In July, Iraqi Defense Ministry said a date has been set for the invasion of the town, however, it will not be declared to maintain the secrecy of the intended operations..

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