IS leaders 'abandon' Mosul as Iraq forces close in

Iraqi forces fire a M109 self-propelled howitzer towards the village of Al-Muftuya from a position in Kani al-Harami, some 35 kilometres of Mosul, on October 19, 2016, during an operation against Islamic State group jihadistsJihadist leaders are fleeing Mosul, a top US general in the coalition battling the Islamic State group said Wednesday as Iraqi forces closed in on the northern city. Mosul was where IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his “caliphate” two years ago but is now the group’s last major stronghold in Iraq. In the biggest Iraqi military operation in years, forces have retaken dozens of villages, mostly south and east of Mosul, and are planning multiple assaults for Thursday.

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