- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2015

The head of the U.S. military’s Central Command said Iraqis troops will be trained for a summer assault to retake the city of Mosul, which is currently under control of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Gen. Lloyd Austin said Thursday that taking back the city would involve two Iraqi divisions comprised of the nation’s best soldiers. Mosul was home to 600,000 people when the Islamic State group captured it last June.

“If we did things alone or with some of the other allies on the ground, it could move faster,” Gen. Austin told The Wall Street Journal. “But the Iraqis have to do this themselves.”

SEE ALSO: Islamic State using MANPADS against A-10 Warthogs in Iraq: report

The general would not tell the newspaper whether he would recommend U.S. ground troops for a massive operation in Mosul, but he did say the U.S.-led coalition would “do what it takes.”

While U.S. forces continue to prepare Iraq’s security forces, airstrikes will target supply lines used by the Sunni radical terrorist organization.

The Journal reported that 18 airstrikes were conducted Wednesday near Mosul and Sinjar.

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