Calm before the storm as soldiers prepare for the Battle of Mosul

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Calm before the storm as soldiers prepare for the Battle of Mosul
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stand next to a fire as they gather on the top of Mount Zardak, about 25 kilometres east of Mosul (Picture: AFP)

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the start of operations to liberate the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) militants.

State TV showed a brief written statement announcing the start of the widely-anticipated military offensive to drive IS out of Iraq’s second largest city.

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