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Iraqi Troops Launch Offensive On Baghdadi

A top U.S. commander says Iraqi forces have launched an attack to recapture the western town of Baghdadi from Islamic State (IS) militants.

Lieutenant General James Terry, the senior U.S. commander of the U.S.-led coalition effort in Iraq and Syria, said on February 23 that some 800 Iraqi troops backed by U.S. warplanes were attacking Baghdadi, which was lost to IS militants earlier this month.

Terry said Iraqi troops have secured area around a nearby air base where U.S. marines are training Iraqi forces.

Terry also said IS progress in Iraq had been "halted" and the militant group can only carry out small attacks.

The Combined Joint Task Force said in a February 23 statement that the United States and its allies had staged 25 air strikes on IS positions in Iraq and Syria since February 22.

The UN said on February 23 that at least 11,600 people were killed and some 21,800 wounded in Iraq last year.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa