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Iraq forces secure villages south of Mosul

An Iraqi soldier guards the entrance of the Nineveh base for liberation operations in Makhmur, about 280 kilometres north of Baghdad, on February 11, 2016Iraqi forces cleared roadside bombs and booby traps Friday in villages from which they ousted jihadists a day earlier south of Mosul, the Islamic State group’s main hub in the country, officials said. Soldiers and allied paramilitary forces sealed their grip on four villages between Makhmur and IS-held Qayyarah, about 60 kilometres (35 miles) south of Mosul. The army Thursday described the operation in which these villages were retaken as the first phase of an offensive to recapture Nineveh province and its capital Mosul.

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