Iraq ousts defence minister as forces retake key town near de facto capital Mosul from Islamic State

Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi was ousted on Thursday after the Parliament voted 142 to 102 to remove him from his position. The vote of confidence followed accusations of corruption against al-Obeidi, The Washington Post reported. His impeachment follows theresignation of Iraq’s interior minister Mohammed al-Ghabban, which now leaves two important security positions in Iraq vacant.

Al-Obeidi’s ousting comes at a time when Iraqi forces recaptured the town of Qayyarah, near the country’s de facto capital Mosul, from the Islamic State group. “We control all parts of the town and managed, in very limited time, to root out Daesh [Islamic State],” said Lieutenant General Riyadh Jalal Tawfik, who heads the ground forces. With the support of tribal fighters and coalition airstrikes, they seized the city that is considered a key location to plan any future military attacks against the terror outfit’s last stronghold of Mosul, according to Al Jazeera.

While officials do not expect al-Obeidi’s removal to have a major impact on the fight against the Islamic State, it indicates the state of political instability that the country is in. The top minister had been questioned about weapons contracts earlier in August.

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