Iranian General Soleimani 'present on Mosul operation front line'
Iran's notorious Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani is assisting security forces on the frontlines of the battle against the Islamic State group in Mosul, al-Nujaba movement has revealed.
The commander is accompanied by dozens of aids, including advisers and fighters from the Iranian Quds Force, al-Nujaba leader Akram al-Kaabi told local news.
"Iran has provided assistance to us from the beginning of the Islamic State crisis," he said. "Iran has not only given us its experience and ammunition, but also gave its blood to Iraq."
The rumours surrounding Soleimani's presence in Iraq have surfaced on several occasions.
Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, from the Popular Mobilisation Forces - or Hashd al-Shaabi, which has close links to Iran - previously confirmed his attendance stating it came "at the request of the government".
Last month, US newsletter Western Journalism claimed the large-scale offensive in the IS-held city of Mosul is being led by the Iranian military commander himself.
Similarly, Iran's ABNA news outlet published images of the general in Mosul. Kremlin-backed Russia Today suggested Iraq's Shia militias were prepared for the Mosul advance by Soleimani.
The news that General Soleimani may be in Mosul has not escaped the attention of the US, who have denied cooperating with Tehran despite Washington's heavy involvement in the global fight against IS.
"We are not coordinating with the Iranians in any way, we are not working with them in any way," Col. Chris Garver, spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq told reporters.
The government of Iraq comes up with the plan, we are supporting [its] plan for the seizure of Mosul."
Garver added that the US was only coordinating with Iraq's central government in the Mosul offensive