Iraqi forces are facing fierce resistance in a small town where Islamic State militants who fled the city of Tal Afar have taken refuge. One officer told Reuters news agency the fighting in Ayadiya was "multiple times worse" than the battle for Mosul.
Commanders have stepped up air and artillery strikes on IS positions and brought in reinforcements in response. On Sunday the military said it had "fully liberated" Tal Afar, which was the last IS stronghold in north Iraq.
The announcement came a week after the Iraqi government launched an operation to retake the city involving some 50,000 personnel from the army, air force, federal police, special forces and the Shia-led paramilitary Popular Mobilisation force.
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