Kurds make gains near Mosul, dozens of IS fighters killed
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Kurds make gains near Mosul, dozens of IS fighters killed

Peshmerga, backed by US air forces, retakes key sites; seven Kurdish troops killed

File: An Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighter takes up position in the town of Bashiqa, 13 kilometers northeast of Mosul, on August 12, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
File: An Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighter takes up position in the town of Bashiqa, 13 kilometers northeast of Mosul, on August 12, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Kurdish forces, backed by the US air force, made gains near the Iraqi city of Mosul on Saturday, capturing key sites from the Islamic State in areas that had been under the jihadists’ control since June.

Seven peshmerga fighters were killed in the clashes, as well as dozens of jihadists, Israel Radio reported. The Kurdish troops retook the strategic Zardaq mountain, east of Mosul, according to the report.

Mosul was the first city to fall to the initial IS-led militant drive in June, which swept Iraqi security forces aside.

Baghdad won its first major victory of the conflict when federal troops, Shiite militiamen and Kurdish fighters broke a months-long siege of one town on August 31 and then retook other nearby territory.

In the town of Sulaiman Bek, which had been held by IS since June but was retaken on Monday, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militiamen discovered mass graves containing 35 bodies, an officer and a doctor said Friday.

It was not clear when the killings took place, as the town north of Baghdad has fallen from government control several times this year.

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