Iraqi forces press on IS-held villages south of Mosul
Iraqi forces made gains against Islamic State militants south of Mosul on Sunday, military sources said.
Ground forces stationed in the town of Makhmur, in the Erbil Governorate south of Mosul, launched early on Sunday attacks against IS-held villages seizing the village of Kharaib Jadr.
"The offensive against IS sites was launched early Sunday," military personnel Amin al-Shikhani told The New Arab. "Iraqi ground forces received air cover from Iraqi and US-led coalition air forces."
"The attacks concentrated on villages located between the town of Makhmur and the city of Mosul," Shikhani added.
Iraqi ground forces pressed on with tanks and armoured vehicles towards the village of Haj Ali, located opposite an IS hub in Qayara that connects the group's stronghold city of Mosul with Hawija further east.
"IS militants responded to the army attacks [by setting off] booby-traps," a military source said. "Clashes remain ongoing."
IS captured the city of Mosul two years ago, seizing control of large parts of Iraq and proclaiming a caliphate.
The militant group has come under increasing pressure in recent months, losing ground to an array of forces across the country.
The UN estaminates more than 3.3 million people have been displaced by conflict in Iraq since the start of 2014.