Iraqi PM upbeat on Mosul offensive

The operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from so-called Islamic State militants is progressing faster than planned, the Iraqi leader says.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said troops were pushing towards the city “more quickly” than envisaged.

His comments came as Kurdish fighters launched a large-scale operation east and north of Mosul.

The Iraqi army has been moving from the south, and special forces have now joined the offensive.

Mosul has been in the hands of IS since 2014 and is the militants’ last major Iraqi stronghold.

The offensive to retake it began on Monday. Up to 1.5 million civilians are thought to still be inside the city.

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