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.
Based on reporting by AP and washingtonpost.com