An Iraqi Army helicopter hovers over an outer defense cordon created by armored vehicles from 12th IA Division during a live fire exercise for Operation Lion’s Leap. Archival photo.
Tal Afar (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi army’s ninth armored division arrived to boundaries of Tal Afar town, west of Nineveh province, Waradana news website reported on Tuesday.
“Army troops arrived to the boundaries of the town, expected to be freed from the Islamic State group later,” a army source said.
Moreover, a source from the division said “both the Iraqi troops and U.S.-led coalition began shelling the group’s infrastructure ahead of invading the town.’
On Monday, the Defense Ministry declared conclusion of arrangements ahead of military invasion of the town. An army official was quoted as saying that an army division was ordered to leave Mosul toward Tal Afar within preparations to retake the town, which has been set as the next target of operations after victory was declared in Mosul on July 10.
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.
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”.