Iraqi troops retake villages east of Baghdad

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Iraqi troops retake villages east of Baghdad

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Iraq’s ministry of defence said its country’s forces have dislodged ISIL fighters from 16 villages east of Baghdad,suggesting almost all of the Diyala province is back under government control.

Iraqi troops say they hope to retake the entire province before this weekend’s Eid festival.

A ministry statement said more than 100 ISIL militants were killed during the operation.

Meanwhile in the north, Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga troops have launched a three-pronged attack against ISIL fighters in Mosul, Rabia and Kirkuk.

British media reports said the Peshmerga are not able to advance against militants who still occupy many villages around a key battlezone in Mosul. They say a bigger ground offensive will be needed.

A senior Kurdish officer said the Peshmerga are fighting in the centre of Rabia and, supported by airstrikes, they have resumed attacks on villages south of the oil city Kirkuk.