While most of the world is focused on the US-backed, Iraqi army operation to reclaim the city of Mosul, the Islamic State has seized more land in an area near the borders of Iraq, Syria and Jordan. The ISIS hold on land contained in the city of Rutba was said to increase from a third to a half. US-led Iraqi forces believe the assault on Rutba was intended to divert forces from the Mosul operation and appears to be doing so. It was reported that the Iraqi army was sending reinforcements to Rutba to hold-off the ISIS fighters. A similar tactic was used in the city of Kirkuk last week as a diversion. A direct hit on a Shiite mosque during that operation killed 13 civilians and has prompted Human Rights Watch to ask for an investigation of the American-led air assault that supported Iraqi ground troops.
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