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Iraqi forces launch attack to retake Ramadi from Islamic State

File photo: Iraqi security forces celebrate after clashes with Islamic State militants at the University of Anbar, Ramadi, in July. Credit: Reuters

Iraqi forces have begun an attack to retake the centre of Ramadi from self-styled Islamic State militants, a government spokesperson has told Reuters.

IS captured Ramadi, the capital of the western Anbar province in May.

Iraqi forces, supported by coalition airstrikes, have been battling around the city for several weeks.

Prior to the attack, aircraft dropped leaflets urging civilians to flee the city ahead of the fighting.

Turkey: 'Miscommunication' over Iraq troop deployments

Turkey says the troops were sent to train the Kurd and Iraqi forces who are fighting IS from Bashiqah, close to Mosul Credit: Reuters

Turkey has recognised a "miscommunication" with Iraq over its recent deployment of troops to the Bashiqa military base in northern Iraq, its foreign ministry has said.

In a statement the ministry said Turkey would continue to move some of its troops out of Iraq's Nineveh province, where they are currently based.

Ankara deployed a number of troops earlier this month, saying that the force was part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight the self-styled Islamic State.

Officials in Baghdad slammed the move, saying it had never invited such a force.


US: Coalition airstrike may have killed Iraqi soldiers

A soldier patrols past an Iraqi flag Credit: Reuters

At least 10 Iraqi soldiers may have been killed in an airstrike by the US-led coalition targeting Islamic State in Iraq, according to a US military statement.

After acting on information from Iraqi security forces on the ground near Fallujah, coalition forces conducted several air strikes against Islamic State and "initial reports indicate the possibility one of the strikes resulted in the death of Iraqi soldiers," the statement said.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts," it said.

"To the best of our knowledge, there have been no previous incidents of friendly fire in Iraq involving the Coalition during the course of Operation Inherent Resolve."

'At least 26' Qatari nationals kidnapped in Iraq desert

Gunmen have kidnapped at least 26 Qatari nationals in the Iraqi desert near the border with Saudi Arabia, officials say.

Reuters report that two police officers in Samawa confirmed the kidnappings and said security forces launched a wide-scale search for the Qataris.

The governor of Samawa, Falih al-Zayady, said the armed men were driving "dozens of pickup trucks" and took the group - thought to be hunters - from their camp in the Busaya area of the Samawa desert.

Turkey to halt sending troops to Iraq

File photo of Turkish soldiers on guard at a check point Credit: Reuters

Turkey said it would halt further transfers of troops to an area near the Islamic State-controlled city of Mosul in Iraq after Baghdad threatened to appeal to the United Nations to force Turkey to withdraw its soldiers.

Turkey deployed hundreds of forces to a camp near the Mosul in the north on Thursday, calling it a routine rotation in a training programme but angering Baghdad, which said it had been done without consultation.


US sending 'special targeting force' to Iraq to help fight IS

A 2014 file photo of Islamic State militants driving a captured tank. Credit: Reuters

The United States is sending a "specialized expeditionary targeting force" to help Iraqi forces tackle so-called Islamic State militants.

The Pentagon says the team of "special operators" will also be cleared to take part in raids inside Syria - including hostage rescue and capture missions.

"These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL [Islamic State] leaders," US defence secretary Ashton Carter told the House Armed Services Committee.

Coalition air strikes hit 25 IS targets in Iraq and Syria

Coalition air strikes hit 16 targets in Iraq and nine in Syria belonging to the so-called Islamic State militant group, officials have said.

The site of an air strike in Sinjar, Iraq, earlier this month Credit: Reuters

In a statement, the Combined Joint Task Force said five of the Iraq strikes hit around Ramadi, destroying weapons, tactical units and fighting positions, as well as targets in nine other Iraqi cities, including Sinjar, Mosul and Tikrit.

In Syria, the statement added, five strikes near al Hasaka took out two Islamic State vehicles and three buildings, wounding an undisclosed number of militants. Three other strikes hit near al Hawl and one near Mar'a.

Bomber, attack, ground-attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft were all used in the operation.

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