Iraqi forces retake 3 more areas of IS-held Tal Afar

Iraqi army kills more than 300 IS militants, liberates 31 Tal Afar districts

Iraqi government forces recaptured the Ottoman-era citadel in Tal Afar, and took control of the city, according to a military statement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the campaign against the militant group in Tal Afar would end soon.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described the progress in Tal Afar as "excellent", calling it an "indication of the enemy's collapse".

"Army troops and Hashd fighters also stormed Tal Afar's eastern Al-Mahlabiya neighborhood on Friday", Police First Lieutenant Bahaa al-Mobahi told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Tal Afar has always been a stronghold for hard-line Sunni insurgents.

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After routing the militants from Iraq's second city Mosul in July following a grueling nine-month-long battle, Iraqi forces launched an assault Sunday on Tal Afar, where an estimated 1,000 terrorists are holed up.

The call during the Friday sermon delivered by Sistani's representative Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, from the holy city of Karbala comes after the operation to retake Tal Afar began last week.

On the sixth day of the offensive, Iraqi elite units seized the northern city's neighbourhoods of Nida' and Taliaa, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said. Tal Afar, some 70 km west of Mosul, is the last IS stronghold in the province of Nineveh. On Tuesday, the United Nations refugee agency said those who had fled were suffering from dehydration and exhaustion, having lived off unclean water and bread for three to four months. It is located about 150 kilometers from the Syria border.

The jihadist group has lost much of the territory it controlled and thousands of its fighters have been killed.

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