Iraq: We've 'Fully Liberated' Critical Dam
US airstrikes backed troops in big blow to Islamic State
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 18, 2014 6:32 AM CDT
This Oct. 31, 2007 file photo shows a general view of the dam.   (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed, File)
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(Newser) – In a major victory against the Islamic State, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have retaken control of the Mosul Dam, an Iraqi military spokesman tells the AP. The success comes after two days of US airstrikes aimed at helping recapture the site north of Iraq's second-biggest city. The troops have now "fully liberated" the dam, the spokesman says, having "hoisted the Iraqi flag over it." The victory could offer troops a big confidence boost, the AP notes.

Iraq had feared the Islamic State, which took control of the dam on August 7, could use it as a weapon, the BBC notes. If the extremist group "blows up this dam, then Mosul, Baghdad, and other places will be damaged and will no longer exist," a Kurdish officer told the AP, noting that the dam was important for drinking water and agriculture. Control of the dam had put the Islamic state "in a position to impose a famine on the rest of Iraq," an expert tells Time.