|Kurdish, Iraqi forces in full control of Mosul dam||
Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Iraqi counter-terrorism forces have retaken control of Mosul dam and driven Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants out of the area, Iraqi state television reported on Monday.
The television station quoted Lieutenant-General Qasim Atta, a military spokesman, as saying the forces were backed by a joint air patrol. He did not give details. An independent verification was not immediately possible.
A Twitter account belonging to a media organization that supports the Islamic State said the dam was still under the group's full control.
On Sunday, a Mosul dam engineer who has been in close contact with Islamic State militants holding the dam said they had been placing roadside bombs along roads leading in and out of the complex in anticipation of an assault.
The latest northern Iraq offensive by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has rattled the Baghdad government and its Western allies, prompting the United States to mount the first airstrikes in the country since it withdrew in 2011.
U.S. carries out 15 air strikes near dam
U.S. warplanes and drones carried out 15 airstrikes Monday against militants battling for control of the dam, the military said.
Fighter jets, bombers and unmanned planes destroyed nine ISIL positions and eight vehicles around the Mosul dam, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, according to AFP.
"Since August 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 68 airstrikes in Iraq. Of those 68 strikes, 35 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam," the statement said.
Monday's barrage destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions and a checkpoint, six armed trucks, an armored vehicle, a mobile anti-aircraft gun and a patch of ground booby-trapped with improvised explosives.
Central Command said the strikes had been conducted under the authority of Obama's order to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIL terrorists and to protect U.S. personnel and facilities.
The U.S. military launched a wave of airstrikes in northern Iraq just over a week ago with the stated aim of protecting a group of Yazidi minority refugees and preventing an ISIS advance on the city of Arbil.
President Barack Obama said last week that the siege of the Yazidi civilians has been broken, but strikes have only intensified as U.S.-backed Kurdish and Iraqi forces try to secure the key dam.
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