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Iraq Military Says it Reached Center of Tal Afar

U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State grou, right, speaks during a joint press conference with Gen. Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman in the Ministry of Defense in Baghdad, Iraq, Aug. 24, 2017.

Iraqi military forces have advanced to the center of the Islamic State-held town of Tal Afar after securing several surrounding neighborhoods, according to a military statement.

After a six-day offensive operation, elite Iraqi forces broke through IS lines, seizing the neighborhoods of Nida' and Taliaa north of Tal Afar and reaching the center of the old city, according to the statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.

Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of Iraq's Special Forces told the Associated Press the U.S.-led coalition provided air cover while Iraqi troops pushed into the town's center.

He said battles with IS jihadists are still ongoing.

The breaking of IS lines comes a day after U.S. Army spokesman Ryan Dillon said Iraqi forces had “completely surrounded” IS fighters in Tal Afar and that the jihadists were “being killed.”

Tal Afar is one of the last bastions of IS control in Iraq. It is located about 150 kilometers from the Syria border.