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

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Baghdad  - 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.

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.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Islamic Party condemned attacks that targeted the party's headquarters and one of its members in two separate areas in Baghdad.

One explosion occurred in Baghdad's Yarmouk district, targeting the head office of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a statement issued by the party said.

The blast killed one civilian and wounded 15 people, including two security guards.

The party is part of the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front Coalition headed by Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashimi.

The second blast targeted Abdul-Karim al-Samaraay, a member of the defence committee in parliament, security sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The explosion took place in the Alawy area of central Baghdad, while al-Samaraay was on his way to the parliament in the green zone. The blast killed one of his security guards and wounded four.

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

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)