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Iraq Says It's Launched Offensive to Recapture Islamic State-Held Mosul

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It was not immediately clear how long such a complex and taxing offensive would take.

In this Monday, June 16, 2014 file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they wave the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo, File)

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi military backed by U.S.-led coalition aircraft on Thursday launched a long-awaited operation to recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants, a military spokesman said.

In the push, Iraqi forces retook several villages on the outskirts of the town of Makhmour, east of Mosul, early in the morning on Thursday and hoisted the Iraqi flag there, according to the spokesman for the Joint Military Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool.

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