(The Washington Post newspaper) Iraq’s Shiite militias on Saturday said they had joined the operation to recapture ISIL-held city of Mosul, a move that could whip up sectarian and regional tensions in an already complex battle.
Militia leaders said they launched an offensive west of the city, toward the town of Tal Afar, in the early hours of the morning. More than 10,000 fighters are participating, they said.
Containing the role of powerful Shiite militias presents a challenge for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as Iraqi troops push towards the largely Sunni city of Mosul. In past battles against ISIL, the Iraqi militias have been accused of kidnappings and executions.
Kurdish peshmerga forces, police and Sunni tribal fighters are already involved in the country’s largest military operation since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Shiite militia leaders have agreed not to enter Mosul itself for now. But they have been jostling for a role west of the city.