Iraq's al-Maliki arrives in Mosul for military offensive

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-MalikiBaghdad  - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki arrived Wednesday in the northern city of Mosul to oversee the military operation Lion's Roar, targeting al-Qaeda militants, as Iraqi army forces uncovered a large weapons cache in the city.

Security sources told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that al-Maliki and Iraq's National Security Advisor Mowafaq al-Rabeiy arrived in Mosul to supervise the military operation launched on Saturday against the al-Qaeda terrorist network and militants in the city.

A blanket curfew was imposed Friday in the Iraqi province of Nineveh ahead of the launch of the offensive.

Iraq's air force is taking part for the first time in the military operation, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told VOI.

The air force has managed in the past 24 hours to provide air surveillance of areas in Nineveh province, he said.

In other news, the US military said Wednesday that Iraqi army soldiers found a large weapons cache during a military operation in Mosul.

The cache consisted of 600 pounds of explosives, a rocket- propelled grenade launcher and 250 gallons of chemicals used to make home-made explosions. (dpa)