US steps up air strikes to free Mosul dam from ISIS militants

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US steps up air strikes in Iraq
Baghdad, Aug 18: The United States stepped up air campaign against Sunni extremists in Iraq, sending bombers to back a Kurdish ground offensive to reclaim the Mosul dam. It also promised to maintain the strikes until the strategic post is completely freed from the Islamic State militants.

On Sunday, the Kurdish fighters began a ground operation to make the militants withdraw from some positions around the dam by the end of the day. It was the most highly coordinated effort by the American, Kurdish and Iraqi forces since the withdrawal of the US forces in late 2011.

The US would continue with the strikes till the dam was taken back

The US air strikes started soon after the Kurdish offensive gained ground. Two dozen US air strikes targetted positions near the Mosul Dam and Erbil, which is the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The US has carried out around 50 air strikes in Iraq since August 8.

The military operation will continue till the Kurdish and Iraqi security forces reclaimed the dam, US defence sources said.

The Mosul dam, which has a capacity to hold 11 billion cubic metres of water, is a major supply to several cities, towns and villages and produces over 1000 megawatts of electricity.

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