Baghdad officials say Islamic State (IS) militants have killed a senior Iraqi commander near the IS-held northern city of Mosul.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry said Brigadier Ahmad Badr al-Luhaibi was killed by a sniper during an operation to retake a village south of Mosul.
In a statement issued late on June 14, the ministry praised Luhaibi as a "knight" and said his death would "increase our determination to clear" all IS forces from Nineveh Province, of which Mosul is the capital.
Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, fell to IS fighters in June 2014 when the extremist group captured large parts of northern and western Iraq as well as eastern Syria.
Iraqi troops -- aided by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and with the support of U.S.-led coalition air strikes -- are fighting IS forces near Mosul in an attempt to encircle Mosul before invading the city.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has repeatedly pledged to recapture Mosul by the end of the year.
The fighting against IS in Iraq has forced 3.3 million people to flee their homes.