Iraqi Ground Offensive Against IS ‘Within Weeks’

Iraqi Ground Offensive Against IS ‘Within Weeks’

A top US official announced Sunday that Iraqi troops will launch a ground offensive “within weeks” to take back swathes of the country seized by Islamic State militant group.
“There will be a major counter offensive on the ground in Iraq,” John Allen, the chief envoy for the international coalition against IS said in an interview.
“In the weeks ahead, when the Iraqi forces begin the ground campaign to take back Iraq, the coalition will provide major firepower associated with that,” he added, stressing that the Iraqis would lead the offensive, France24 reported.
Allen dismissed accusations that there has been a delay in the supply of US weapons and training to Iraqi troops on the frontline of the conflict, telling the news agency.
“The US is doing all it can to deliver its support as quickly as possible.”
The US has been leading an aerial campaign against IS militants, who have taken control over large parts of Iraq and Syria.
The reassuring news of more strikes against IS positions was marred by two bombings which killed at least 15 people in and around Baghdad on Monday, police and medical sources said, the latest in a string of deadly attacks to hit the Iraqi capital in the last two weeks.
A suicide bombing at a security checkpoint in the Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiya killed 13 civilians and wounded more than 30 others, sources said.
Two people were later killed when a bomb went off on a main street in a northern suburb, according to police and medical sources.
No person or group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. At least 37 people were killed in a wave of bombings on Saturday.
Despite the violence, the government lifted a longstanding night-time curfew on Saturday night aimed at normalizing life in the war-torn city of Baghdad.

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