BREAKING: Iraq Military Just Made MAJOR Move

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Iraqi security forces ride in vehicles travelling to Mosul to fight against militants of Islamic State at an Iraqi army base in Camp Taji in Baghdad, February 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad


Mosul, IRAQ — An Iraqi army division had received orders to leave Mosul and head towards the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Nineveh preparing for anticipated operations to retake the region, a military source was quoted saying Tuesday.

Safwan al-Assafi, a Defense Ministry official in charge of distributing military directives, told Anadolu Agency that the supreme command ordered the 9th division to immediately hand over security responsibilities in Mosul to local and Federal Police forces, and to get ready for heading to Tal Afar, now Islamic State’s remaining holdout bin the province, Iraqi News reports.

Meanwhile, Ahmed al-Jubouri, a colonel at the Joint Operations Command, revealed that intensive meetings are being held to lay down the axes of operations in Tal Afar, adding that operations are due within the next few days.

Earlier on Monday, the Defense Ministry said plans were ready for the invasion of the town.

The target area, according to Anadolu, is nearly 1300 miles of space, and consists of Tal Afar, Ayadiya, Mahalabiya and 47 scattered villages.

Tal Afar is 30 miles away from Mosul, and is home to a mixed Turkmen and Arab population. Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, Islamic State’s former capital, early July after more than eight months of U.S.-backed offensives.

Meanwhile, United States forces have recently made an airdrop of troops to evacuate spies it had planted within Islamic State ranks from Mosul, according to military sources.

London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi quoted an unnamed Iraqi military source saying that U.S. forces, which had backed Iraqi government troops operations against ISIS militants, recently conducted an airdrop of troops west of al-Shura region, south of Mosul, to evacuate a number of informants planted within the extremist group’s ranks.

The same source added that the coalition’s warplanes carried out an airstrike three kilometers away from the scene of the evacuation operation, targeting an underground tunnel used by the group in Zalhafa village, Iraqi News reports.

“Iraqi Forces received notices from the American forces saying they were heading to the scene of the strike to get DNA samples from the dead militants’ for analysis,” the source told the newspaper. It appeared that most of the leaders killed in the raid were former detainees by the United States between 2003 and 2011, the source revealed, adding that DNA tests identified one of them as Abu Yahia al-Iraqi, then the Islamic State’s “mayor of Mosul”.

There have been occasional reports of the Islamic State executing civilians, security agents and even its members for collaborating with security authorities.

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