There are conflicting reports about whether Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi troops have fully retaken Mosul dam from Islamic State (IS) militants.

Iraqi military spokesman Lt-Gen Qassim Atta told state TV the dam – Iraq’s largest – had been “fully cleansed”.

Troops had been backed by a joint air patrol, he added. The US military said it had conducted air strikes.

However, journalists in the area said fighting was continuing and jihadists remained in control of the main gate.

An Islamic State statement also contradicted the military’s claim, saying it had repelled Kurdish fighters and inflicted heavy losses.

In a separate development, Pope Francis said military action to stop IS militants attacking religious minorities should be agreed by the United Nations and not carried out by “one nation alone”.

BBC Rome correspondent Alan Johnston says that up until now the Pope has taken a resolutely pacifist view, but on this occasion he seemed a little less emphatic in his opposition to a more muscular approach.

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