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Iraq Kurds, coalition jets in major push to retake Sinjar

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters celebrate flag day in the northern city of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, on December 17, 2014Iraqi Kurdish forces on Wednesday launched a broad offensive backed by mass bombing from US-led coalition warplanes to retake the northeastern Sinjar area from the Islamic State group. In neighbouring Syria, the bodies of 230 people from a tribe that rose up against the jihadists in the Deir Ezzor region have been found in a mass grave, a monitoring group said. Sixty-one air strikes were carried out in Iraq since Monday, some of the heaviest bombardment since a jihadist onslaught on the Sinjar region prompted the first US air raids four months ago. The US military said “45 strikes were conducted in support of the peshmerga (Kurdish army) and Iraqi security forces operating in the region”.

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