Iraqi government forces advancing on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul retook a village from IS on Tuesday and linked up along the Tigris river with army units pushing from a separate direction, Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi said.
The US is stepping up its military campaign against Islamic State by sending hundreds more troops to assist Iraqi forces in an expected push on the city of Mosul, the militants' largest stronghold, later this year.
Islamic State has not gained significant ground since it took the Iraqi city of Ramadi a year ago, which it then lost in December, as the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria has been helped by better intelligence and better equipped local forces,
Iraq's armed forces started an offensive against Islamic State in the northerly Nineveh province on Thursday in what a military statement described as the first stage of an operation aimed at liberating the city of Mosul.
A much anticipated campaign to recapture Iraq's northern city of Mosul from Islamic State is unlikely to happen this year, the Kurdistan region's deputy prime minister said, dampening hopes the militants could be driven from the country
Iraqi Kurdish forces said they had recaptured the country's biggest dam from Islamic State militants on Monday, although an employee at the site said jihadist fighters still controlled key points on the vulnerable structure.
The Indian government has not been able to make contact with 40 Indian construction workers in the Iraqi city of Mosul, with one leading Indian newspaper reporting that they have been kidnapped.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akb
The insurgent offensive that has threatened to dismember Iraq spread to the northwest of the country on Sunday, when Sunni militants launched a dawn raid on a town close to the Syrian border, clashing with police and government forces.
The Iraqi army that disintegrated under an onslaught by Islamist fighters this week was a hollow force, riven by corruption, poor leadership and sectarian splits - a shadow of the military Washington had hoped to leave in the war-ravaged country