France's defence minister claims ISIS is on the retreat in Iraq

Still from Jean-Yves Le Drian's interview on BFMTV.BFMTVStill from Jean-Yves Le Drian’s interview on BFMTV.

On Thursday morning France’s defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, announced that ISIS militants were retreating in Iraq.

Talking about France’s strikes against ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL or Daesh) on BFMTV, Le Drian said: “What we can say today is that Daesh is retreating in Iraq.”

He also claimed recent French air attacks had hit a “communication and propaganda centre” close to Mosul and that seven strikes had been conducted since Monday.

Over the last few months, the Iraqi army, aided by support from the US-led coalition, has carried out a series of successful offensives against ISIS targets.

But while news of an ISIS retreat is most welcome it has been reported on Thursday by Reuters that the extremist group, has captured a northern village after pushing through the Iraqi army front line.

“Daesh exploited a weak spot in the Himrin (mountain) area that is not under control of the (Iraqi) forces and attacked Kusaiba village with 10 vehicles, including Humvees,” Laith Hameed, a senior official in Alam, told Reuters.

The village of Tal Kusaiba is 20 miles east of Tikrit, a town the Iraqi pro-government forces re-took from ISIS last April. According to Reuters, ISIS militants took control of the police station and other government buildings in Kusaiba, killing the police station chief and five militia fighters.

Reuters also reported that security forces were currently organising a counter-attack as the military started conducting air strikes against the positions held by ISIS.

In Paris, Le Drian mentioned that a meeting between the members of the US-led coalition would take place in the French capital next week to reinforce their joint efforts.

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