Iraq PM: No US combat troops to stay in Iraq after IS

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Troops from the army's Ninth Division and the police's Rapid Response Force are now advancing on the Musharifa, Kanisa and Haramat districts from the north.

The US-backed Iraqi forces imposed a siege on Islamic State's (ISIS) militants in the northwestern part of the war-torn city of Mosul, officials reported on Thursday. The US-led global coalition is providing key air and ground support to the offensive on the Islamic State's de facto capital in Iraq.

A depleted Iraqi force, coupled with the further emergence of Iranian militias could see the U.S. war against ISIS emerge as "a military win but potentially a strategic loss", Cafarella said.

The US combat mission in Iraq ended in 2010, when former president Barack Obama ordered nearly all US troops to withdraw from the Arab state.

"Now your sons are fighting and striking the enemy's defences..." The front lines in western Mosul have inched forward for months as IS fighters have used a claustrophobic battle space and hundreds of thousands of civilians as human shields to slow Iraqi troops. The new operation opens a second front in the effort to regain control of Mosul. Iraqi army commanders said there are 11 neighborhoods in west Mosul left to capture. More than two years ago Islamic State militants swept into Iraq and seized the city along with a other parts of the country.

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In this Tuesday, May 2, 2017 photo, a humvee of the Iraqi Federal Police drives through an abandoned street in western Mosul, Iraq.

The area includes the symbolically important Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the establishment of a "caliphate" after Mosul and much of northern Iraq fell to the jihadist group in 2014. In March, for example, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East, said 774 Iraqi troops and another 4,600 had been killed, then five months into the battle for Mosul.

In recent months, the U.S. military has argued a residual force in Iraq would be a means to build on the goodwill and better relations in Iraq during its almost three-year military campaign against ISIS. The actual number is likely to be significantly higher. Another 600,000 have been displaced since the start of the offensive, according to information from Iraq's Immigration Ministry.

Col Dorrian added that the remaining militants were also continuing to carry out "probing attacks" along the Iraqi security forces' perimeter around Mosul, using smalls arms fire and auto bombs, in an attempt to escape.

The attack was launched early Thursday in the northern part of Mosul's western section, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

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