Iraq’s military said it advanced through northern villages held by Islamic State on Wednesday, on its way to an airfield which could serve as the staging ground for a future offensive on Mosul, the biggest city held by the militants.

Army and counter-terrorism forces recaptured Telol al-Baj, about 260 km (160 miles) north of Baghdad on the main north-south road on Tuesday, a senior commander participating in the offensive told Reuters.

U.S.-led coalition air strikes have helped repel suicide car bomb attacks, the commander said. Both sides have suffered casualties, but most militants have fled into the desert, he added. […]