Iraqi warplanes pound Tal Afar ahead of liberation offensive
Iraqi warplanes carried out airstrikes Tuesday (August 15th) against "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) positions in Tal Afar in preparation for a ground assault to retake the town near the Syrian border, AFP reported.
Tal Afar is the last remaining ISIS stronghold in northern Iraq after Iraqi forces captured Mosul from the group in July.
"Preparations are under way pending instructions from the commander in chief [Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi]" for the launch of the assault, said Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasul, spokesman for Iraq's Joint Operations Command.
He said that although the main offensive to retake Tal Afar had not yet begun, the air force was pounding ISIS positions in the town.
Plans to retake Tal Afar were announced on Monday (August 14th) by Federal Police Chief Lt. Gen. Raed Shaker Jawdat, who said "armoured and elite units" were headed for the town.
Twelve ISIS elements were killed in coalition airstrikes this morning on a building the group used as headquarters in central Tal Afar, said Ninawa operations commander Maj. Gen. Najm Eddin al-Jubury.
The building, located on the main street in the centre of the city, included two booby-trapped vehicles, and a number of weapons, explosives and ammunition, he told Diyaruna.