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Iraqi volunteer forces recapture 2 airbases from Daesh terrorists

Members of the Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd al-Sha’abi) gather in a street in the modern town of Hatra, southwest of the northern city of Mosul, on April 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have established complete control over two airbases on the western outskirts of Mosul.
Sami Masoudi, a commander of the pro-government forces -- commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi -- said in a statement on Thursday that his fellow fighters had liberated Washington military airport west of Mosul, Arabic-language al-Sumaria satellite television network reported.
Masoudi said the recapture of the airbase was strategically important as the site would play a major role in supplying weapons and military equipment to Iraqi army soldiers.
He further noted that Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had retaken six villages, including Khalaf Idris, al-Khamisah, al-Madinah and Ayn Fathi, west of Mosul.
The developments came shortly after Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters reclaimed control over Sahl Sinjar airbase south of al-Qairawan district. 
Members of the Iraqi forces take position in a western Mosul neighborhood on May 17, 2017, during an ongoing offensive to retake the area from Daesh terrorists. (Photo by AFP)
Separately, Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat said security personnel have retaken 291 square kilometers of land in the western flank of Mosul.
The United Nations also said that another 200,000 people might flee their homes as fighting escalates in Mosul.
UN humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande said nearly 700,000 people have already been displaced from Mosul ever since Iraqi army troopers and their allies launched a major operation on October 17, 2016 to retake the city from Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
“The numbers of people fleeing their homes in western Mosul are overwhelming. They are fleeing under very difficult circumstances. Many are food insecure and haven't had access to safe drinking water and medicines for weeks or months,” Grande said in a statement.
She noted that Iraqi government and humanitarian aid agencies are rushing in supplies, but because of the large number of displaced “it's becoming more and more difficult to ensure civilians receive the assistance and protection they need.”
Bomb attack claims nine civilian lives in northern Iraq
Meanwhile, at least nine people have been killed in a bomb explosion that ripped through a popular market in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, situated 25 kilometers south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deadly incident took place when a bomber detonated his explosive-laden belt amongst the crowd. Eleven people sustained injuries in the attack.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the act of violence. However, Iraqi authorities usually blame such attacks on the Daesh group Takfiri.
Iraqi security forces inspect the scene of a car bomb explosion in Baghdad's al-Wahda neighborhood on May 14, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) says a total of 317 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 403 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in April.
According to the UN mission, the worst-affected area was the northern province of Nineveh, where violence took the lives of 153 civilians and left 123 others wounded. Fifty-five people also lost their lives in the capital province of Baghdad, and 179 others sustained injuries there.

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