UN Secretary General starts official visit to Iraq

Guterres's visit to Baghdad was preceded by an attack by the IS in which at least 14 people were killed and 36 were wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden truck at a checkpoint in the south entrance to the capital.

No group immediately claimed responsibility. The Tigris River separates Mosul into its eastern and western sector.

Guterres also met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and the two sides reviewed "the humanitarian, security and political situations in Iraq as well as the victories of the Iraqi forces against IS", according to a statement by Jaafari's office.

Guterres was to meet top Iraqi officials including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad before flying to Arbil, the capital of the country's autonomous Kurdish region. He said protecting civilians was an "absolute priority".

Since the start of the Mosul military operation in October, more than 350,000 people have fled the fighting, according to United Nations figures.


Daesh overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, have since regained much of the territory they had lost.

"The distance between IS and us is 50 meters, yesterday, we killed four IS fighters and right now their bodies are in the street".

Iraqi special forces and police fought ISIL to edge closer to the al-Nuri mosque in western Mosul on Wednesday, tightening their control around the landmark site.

Three policemen were among the dead, along with civilians and health officials.

Iraqi and coalition officials have repeatedly warned that after Mosul, IS is likely to return to its insurgent roots as it loses more territory in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria.


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