No foreign troops for Mosul offensive: Iraqi official

BAGHDAD, Sep. 25 (MNA) – An Iraqi official has denied reports about the participation of foreign troops in an anticipated offensive to retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIL.

“Troops participating in the plan to liberate Iraqi cities, including Mosul, are purely Iraqi,” the Defense Ministry official said on Sunday. 

He insisted that no foreign troops were taking part in any ground offensive against ISIL in Iraq. 

Media reports earlier said the Pentagon was seeking to send another 500 troops to Iraq ahead of the Mosul offensive. There are nearly 4,470 U.S. troops in Iraq. 

Brigadier General Yehia Rasoul, a spokesman for the joint operations command, said only Iraqi forces and allied local fighters were taking part in the anti-ISIL operations. 

“The presence of the international coalition forces is meant for intelligence exchange, carrying out airstrikes against ISIL and training and arming Iraqi forces,” he said. 

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when ISIL captured Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country. 

In recent months, the Iraqi army -- backed by coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- has managed to retake much territory from the terrorist group. 

Iraqi forces this week captured the Shirqat district in northern Iraq from ISIL militants ahead of the planned operation to retake Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year’s end. 

AA/MNA

News Code 120010

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