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The Wall Street Journal: Kurdish, Iraq forces capture 17 villages surrounding Mosul

Kurdish and Iraqi forces captured 17 villages around Mosul on Monday, Iraq’s military said, but Islamic State slowed their advance with heavy mortar fire that signaled a potentially fierce battle for the militant group’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

The first day of the high-stakes fight for Iraq’s second-largest city—located near the Syrian and Turkish borders—began at dawn with an announcement from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The military campaign could take days or weeks.

Columns of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters moved from bases east of Mosul in tanks and armored vehicles, followed by engineers in bulldozers who built berms to defend the captured villages.

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