News

US and French bomb Isis terror targets to take Mosul

The battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Isis has begun, Iraq's Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said.

Mosul, which is regarded as Isis' "second city", is the last major stronghold of the jihadist group in Iraq.

It has been under the group's control since June 2014, but the Iraqi offensive to retake the city has been planned for months.

In an address on state television, Mr Abadi said: "The time of victory has come and operations to liberate Mosul have started."

"Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh," he said, using another term for the jihadist group.

US and French forces had already begun bombing Isis targets in Mosul ahead of the offensive.

Isis fighters are said to be dug in and preparing to battle hard to maintain control, Reuters reported.

Ahead of the battle, the Iraqi army dropped tens of thousands of leaflets over Mosul urging residents to hide before the offensive begins.

The leaflets carried several messages to the citizens of the city in northern Iraq attempting to reassure them that the advancing army "would not target civilians" but warned them to avoid the known locations of Isis militants.

"Keep calm and tell your children that it is only a game or thunder before the rain," a leaflet said. "Women should not scream or shout, to preserve the children's spirit."

"If you see an army unit, stay at least 25 metres away and avoid any sudden movements," another said.

They have previously forced civilians to remain where they are rather than flee during previous battles to maintain territory.

It comes just hours after they lost control of the symbolically important town of Dabiq in Syria to a group of rebels after a short battle.

The opposition fighters were able to retake the town with "minimal" resistance despite Isis prophecies that Dabiq was to be the scene of an apocalyptic final battle between Muslims and Christians.

Isis has lost a third of its territory in Iraq and Syria in the past year as counter insurgent forces and air strikes push the group back.

Last week, the UN warned that it was bracing itself for the world's biggest and most complex humanitarian effort following the battle which it expects to displace up to one million people and see civilians used as human shields or even gassed.

Camps have been prepared on the outskirts of Isis territory to cope with the movement of people.

The Iraqi government launched a radio station to help Mosul residents stay safe during the offensive last month broadcasting from Qayyara, a town around 40 miles south of the city.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that Shia militants would not enter the heavily Sunni city.

Previously local Sunni politicians and regional Sunni-majority states including Turkey and Saudi Arabia had warned that Shia soldiers taking part could lead to sectarian fighting.

Topics:  editors picks iraq isis islamic state


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

A splash of cash for community

CASH AVAILABLE: At the launch of the ETC community fund's grants are (from left) ETC chair Rod McKelvey and previous recipients from the House With No Steps, local initiatives co-ordinator Tori Smith and area manager Tina Purdon.

$120,000 up for grabs for community groups

Rainbow club shines at Gold Coast regatta

Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club at the Gold Coast's Broadwater regatta.

Teams battled it out in blistering heat

FORECAST: Perfect storm for a lazy weekend

Rain is on the way on the Northern Rivers.

Much needed heat relief expected to continue

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!