Tal Afar (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi forces killed Islamic State’s new mayor of Tal Afar town and the group’s area police chief on Wednesday while fleeing the enclave, a security source said.
Iraqi state run agency NINA quoted the source saying that army troops shot dead the so-designated mayor, Abu Fatema al-Jaafari, and the police chief, Zahed Khedr, along with six other companions while sneaking outside Tal Afar for an attack on the forces.
The agency also said the group executed 20 members late Tuesday for attempting to flee the town, and had formed special patrols to capture and execute runaway militants.
Tal Afar is 65 kilometers west of Mosul, and is home to a mixed Turkmen and Arab population. Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, Islamic State’s former capital, early July after more than eight months of U.S.-backed offensives.
Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi and his defense officials have marked Tal Afar as their next target of anti-Islamic State action. Iraqi defense officials said recently that warplanes were carrying out raids on the enclave in preparation for the ground invasion which is yet to be scheduled.
Tal Afar has reportedly seen divisions among Islamic State leaderships, with occasional news telling of power conflicts and dissents among leaders, as well as attempts by some militants to flee the anticipated battle field.
Since Iraqi forces launched a wide-scale campaign to retake Mosul in 2016, paramilitary troops managed to isolate the town from the Syrian borders and from the rest of Nineveh.