US and French bomb Isis terror targets to take Mosul

In this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 file photo, Iraqi soldiers in convoy of Iraqi military vehicles heads toward Qayyarah base in northern Iraq, ahead of an expected offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants.
In this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 file photo, Iraqi soldiers in convoy of Iraqi military vehicles heads toward Qayyarah base in northern Iraq, ahead of an expected offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants. AP Photo/Adam Schreck

The battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Isis has begun, Iraq's Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said.

Mosul, which is regarded as Isis' "second city", is the last major stronghold of the jihadist group in Iraq.

It has been under the group's control since June 2014, but the Iraqi offensive to retake the city has been planned for months.

In an address on state television, Mr Abadi said: "The time of victory has come and operations to liberate Mosul have started."

"Today I declare the start of these victorious operations to free you from the violence and terrorism of Daesh," he said, using another term for the jihadist group.

US and French forces had already begun bombing Isis targets in Mosul ahead of the offensive.

Isis fighters are said to be dug in and preparing to battle hard to maintain control, Reuters reported.

Ahead of the battle, the Iraqi army dropped tens of thousands of leaflets over Mosul urging residents to hide before the offensive begins.

The leaflets carried several messages to the citizens of the city in northern Iraq attempting to reassure them that the advancing army "would not target civilians" but warned them to avoid the known locations of Isis militants.

"Keep calm and tell your children that it is only a game or thunder before the rain," a leaflet said. "Women should not scream or shout, to preserve the children's spirit."

"If you see an army unit, stay at least 25 metres away and avoid any sudden movements," another said.

They have previously forced civilians to remain where they are rather than flee during previous battles to maintain territory.

It comes just hours after they lost control of the symbolically important town of Dabiq in Syria to a group of rebels after a short battle.

The opposition fighters were able to retake the town with "minimal" resistance despite Isis prophecies that Dabiq was to be the scene of an apocalyptic final battle between Muslims and Christians.

Isis has lost a third of its territory in Iraq and Syria in the past year as counter insurgent forces and air strikes push the group back.

Last week, the UN warned that it was bracing itself for the world's biggest and most complex humanitarian effort following the battle which it expects to displace up to one million people and see civilians used as human shields or even gassed.

Camps have been prepared on the outskirts of Isis territory to cope with the movement of people.

The Iraqi government launched a radio station to help Mosul residents stay safe during the offensive last month broadcasting from Qayyara, a town around 40 miles south of the city.

On Sunday, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed that Shia militants would not enter the heavily Sunni city.

Previously local Sunni politicians and regional Sunni-majority states including Turkey and Saudi Arabia had warned that Shia soldiers taking part could lead to sectarian fighting.

Topics:  editors picks iraq isis islamic state

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Career on wheels just flies right by for Desiree

MILESTONE: Desiree Phillips will be celebrating 21 years with Tewantin Noosa Meals on Wheels on Sunday.

Desiree will be celebrating an important milestone on Sunday

Making an arty stand for turtles

GREEN ART: Sunshine Beach State School students with their art that raises awareness of the impact our rubbish has on local sea creatures.

Enviro art makes a stand against rubbish

Challenge to pool erosion zone ban

The highlighted property at Peregian Beach that has led to a legal challenge to Noosa Council.

Court challenge to council pool refusal at Peregian Beach

Local Partners

Important issues to be discussed at Noosa Indaba

THE Noosa community will come together to discuss social issues at Noosa CQUniversity on October 28.

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Tattoo convention opens on Coast

MAKING MARKS: Tattoo by Joey Tattoo, one of the guests at the Ink Attack Tattoo Convention.

Elites of tattoo world visit Coast

Priscilla concerned people will forget about Elvis

Priscilla Presley source Bang

She says she feels responsible to keep his legacy going

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Give me shelter - but perhaps not in this park

Some regular users of Cotton Tree Park have bagged the new shelter sheds, saying the roofs are too high to provide adequate protection from the sun and rain.

Users say no cover in new shelters

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.