In Iraq, UN chief backs fight against Islamic State group

After his arrival in Baghdad, Guterres met with President Fuad Masum, parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi, and Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to discuss the "dire humanitarian situation on the ground" as a result of the operation to oust Islamic State from their stronghold.

Earlier this week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that over 286,000 Iraqis were displaced due to the ongoing military operation to liberate Iraq's second largest city Mosul from jihadists.

He will next visit Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

Widespread displacement is another issue, with Iraqi authorities saying that more than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since February.

Iraqi forces are fighting IS in western Mosul, where some 2,000 IS fighters are launching fierce counterattacks.

"The distance between IS and us is 50 metres, yesterday, we killed four IS fighters and right now their bodies are in the street". "We are in the final stage of liberating Mosul and our forces are exerting their utmost efforts to protect the civilians", Abadi said.

The attack took place on Wednesday night when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden tanker truck into a police checkpoint and detonated it on the main road just south of Baghdad, the source said on condition of anonymity.

In the claim IS warns Iraqi Shiites that the "flame of the battle" in Mosul will come to them in the cities of Baghdad, Karbala, and Najaf. Three policemen were among the dead while the rest were civilians, and a number of policemen were also wounded, the officials said.

The militants have suffered a string of defeats over the past two years in the lead up to the Mosul operation, but have continued to regularly launch attacks in and around Baghdad.

  • Joey Payne