An Islamic State leader was killed, along with his companion by a mortar missile in Tal Afar town, west of Mosul, a local source from Nineveh was quoted saying.

“IS leader in charge of the the defense lines, who is an Iraqi national, was killed along with his companion as a mortar missile was shot while inspecting some of the group’s checkpoints,” the source told AlSumaria News on Wednesday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source added “IS established several defense lines in Tal Afar to confront the security troops and the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units over the past few months after losing control on the Tal Afar airport.”

An Iraqi army official was quoted as saying on Tuesday that seventeen IS militants, including leaders, were killed in artillery shelling in the town. Earlier on the day, news reports said that army’s ninth armored division arrived to boundaries of the town ahead of anticipated battle to free it from IS.

Defense Ministry declared, earlier this week, conclusion of arrangements ahead of military invasion of the town. An army official was quoted as saying that an army division was ordered to leave Mosul toward Tal Afar within preparations to retake the town, which has been set as the next target of operations after victory was declared in Mosul on July 10.

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