Iraqi forces battling in the center of Tal Afar

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Iraqi military officials say forces have advanced into the center of the ISIS held town of Tal Afar.

Iraqi spokesman Brig Gen Yahya Rasool told the Associated Press that Iraqi forces took control of several neighborhoods Friday as they advanced toward the center of town and are currently at the outskirts of the neighborhood of al-Qalaa.

Brig Gen Haider Fadhil of Iraq's Special Forces, says the US-led coalition provided air cover while Iraqi troops pushed into the town's center. Clashes are ongoing with IS militants, he said.

Tal Afar is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Syria's border and it's among the last IS-held towns in Iraq.

The Iraqi Federal Police also announced that they had stormed neighborhoods in al-Sa'ad district, north of the city of Tal Afar, and they are now in control of 60 percent of the neighborhoods there.

The operation was conducted with the Popular Mobilization Forces militia.

The move by the Federal Police comes in conjunction with the retake of al-Mahalabiya, east of Tel Afar by the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi army.

The army's chief of staff, General Othman al-Ghanmi, said during an inspection tour in Tal Afar on Thursday that the joint forces advanced rapidly in the fighting.

He said that the joint forces are fighting ISIS in the center of the city after controlling half of it.

On Thursday the Joint Operations Command in Iraq announced its control of a number of neighborhoods in northern and south-eastern Tal Afar.


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