The Iraqi army is deploying thousands of soldiers to a northern base in preparation for operations to retake the Islamic State group’s hub of Mosul, officials said on Monday.
IS seized Mosul in June 2014 and except for airstrikes has held Iraq’s second city largely unopposed for over 18 months as the country’s security forces battled the jihadists in other areas.
The initial aim is to completely sever IS supply lines between Mosul and areas farther south including Hawijah in Kirkuk province and areas near Baiji in Salaheddin, the officer said.
A Kurdish official said that most of the soldiers deployed to the area, which is located within territory controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan, are ethnic Kurds from the Iraqi army.
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