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Iraq minister says IS leaders, families flee Mosul

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but has since lost significant ground to Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes, training and other assistanceIraq’s Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi has said that Islamic State group leaders and their families have sold their belongings and fled Mosul as Iraqi forces close in on the northern city. Iraqi forces are conducting operations to set the stage for an assault on Mosul, the country’s second city that has been held by IS since June 2014, but the final push to retake it is likely still months away. “A number of the families… and leaders of (IS) in Mosul, they and their families sold their belongings and withdrew towards Syria,” whose border west of the city, Obeidi told Iraqiya state television.

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