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The Wall Street Journal: Iran-backed Shiite militias open front in attack on Mosul

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Shiite fighters enter the village of Ayn Nasir, south of Mosul, on Oct. 29, 2016, after recapturing it from Islamic State jihadists.

ERBIL, Iraq — Shiite militias backed by Iran began combat operations Saturday on a newly established western front in the ground offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State, a spokesman for the militias said.

The coalition of militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces said it was pushing in from the west of the city with the goal of retaking the Islamic State-held town of Tal Afar, about 45 miles west of Mosul. The forces also aim to cut off the militants’ ability to retreat to Syria across Iraq’s western border or to maintain supply lines between the two countries.

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