Special to WorldTribune.com
Iraqi Kurdish forces have launched an attack to retake a town held by Islamic State (IS) militants east of Mosul, where government forces are locked in fierce urban war with the extremists.
Around 2,000 Peshmerga fighters entered the town of Bashiqa on November 7, which is believed to be largely deserted except for IS fighters and is about 13 kilometers northeast of Mosul.
Kurdish forces launched mortar rounds and fired heavy artillery into the town on November 6 in advance of the offensive.
More artillery and air strikes hit the town early on November 7 as the advance got under way.
Lieutenant Colonel Safin Rasul told Reuters that he estimated that there were about 100 militants still left with 10 suicide cars in Bashiqa.
Iraqi government forces entered Mosul last week and have made some progress in gaining a foothold on the city’s eastern neighborhoods.
But progress inside the city has been slowed as troops push into more densely populated areas and face IS suicide bombs and booby traps.