World News

Iraqi Shi'ite group says about to reach airbase west of Mosul

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitary group said on Wednesday it is about to storm the Tal Afar airbase, west of Mosul, as part of the military campaign to retake the last major city under control of Islamic State in Iraq.

Some Islamic State fighters have already pulled out from the base and moved to the town of Tal Afar, Jafaar Hussaini, a spokesman for Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed group, told Reuters. “The battle will be finished today,” he added.

Kata’ib Hezbollah is a main component of the Popular Mobilisation, a coalition of mainly Shi’ite militias that joined the U.S.-backed campaign on Mosul end of October.

Capturing Tal Afar would help cut Islamic State’s supply lines between Mosul and the territory under control of the Sunni hardline group in Syria.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed