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Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces attacked an ISIS-held town northeast of Mosul Monday, trying to clear a pocket of militants outside the city while Iraqi troops wage a fierce urban war with the extremists in its eastern neighborhoods.The first waves of a 2,000-strong peshmerga force entered Bashiqa, some in armored vehicles or Humvees and others on foot, after artillery pounded the town at the foot of a mountain about 15 km (10 miles) across the Nineveh plains from Mosul.Mosul, the largest ISIS-controlled city in either Iraq or Syria, has been held by the group since its fighters drove the army out of northern Iraq in June 2014 .To the south of Mosul, security forces said they had recaptured and secured Hammam al-Alil from ISIS fighters, who they said had kept thousands in the town as human shields as well as marching many others alongside retreating militants towards Mosul as cover from air strikes.
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