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IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Kurdish forces took over parts of Iraq's largest dam on Sunday less than two weeks after it was captured by the Islamic State extremist group, Kurdish security officials said, as U.S. and Iraqi planes aided their advance by bombing militant targets near the facility. The U.S. began targeting Islamic State fighters with airstrikes a little over a week ago, allowing Kurdish forces to fend off an advance on their regional capital Irbil and to help tens of thousands of members of religious minorities escape the extremists' onslaught.
Recapturing the dam would be a significant victory against the Islamic State group, which has seized vast swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria. The dam on the Tigris supplies electricity and water for irrigation to a large part of the country. The Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, launched the operation early Sunday to retake the Mosul Dam, Gen. Tawfik Desty, a Kurdish commander, told The Associated Press. He said his forces now control the eastern part of the dam and that fighting is still underway.