Published: Mon, May 29, 2017
IT | By Jonathon Greene

Iraq starts new assault on Islamic State group in Mosul

Iraq starts new assault on Islamic State group in Mosul

Since October 2016, Iraqi forces launched a large-scale military operation to clear Islamic State from Mosul, the last main stronghold of the terrorist group in Iraq.

Its capital, Baghdad, and a northern city, Mosul. "In that house over there, more than 30 were killed and another family up there", he said pointing down one street and up another.

The United National humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq says civilians are being hit hardest as the military assault against ISIS militants in Mosul enters its final phase.

Scores of Daesh militants attacked Iraqi forces, shortly after the latter seized control of Tibb al-Mosul town in the city's western side, the Rapid Response officer said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.

On Sunday, two Iraqi military officers reported serious obstacles, with militants deploying snipers, suicide auto bombers and suicide attackers on foot.

Furthermore, the operation came as Iraqi security forces, backed by the anti-IS global coalition, were simultaneously conducting a major offensive to dislodge IS militants from their major stronghold in western Mosul.

The Old City itself is densely populated and tightly packed with narrow roads and alleyways that make it hard if not impossible for Iraqi forces' armoured vehicles or heavy equipment to get into.

The Pentagon has released the findings of an investigation into the March 17 airstrike that said it targeted two IS snipers in the building, setting off a series of explosions that killed 105 civilians.

Displaced Iraqis arrive in a safe area after leaving their homes west of Mosul
Displaced Iraqis arrive in a safe area after leaving their homes west

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State (IS/Isis) group in a tunnel that was reportedly used as a training centre by the jihadists, on March 1, 2017, in the village of Albu Sayf, on the southern outskirts of Mosul.

It said, the air force dropped leaflets urging residents in the enclave to flee.

The Pentagon said recently that ISIS has lost 55,000 square kilometers of territory and regained none of it. Save the Children warned that fleeing civilians could be caught in the crossfire, leading to "deadly chaos".

The enclave includes the Old City center and three adjacent districts along the western bank of the Tigris river.

"West Mosul is arguably the most complex and risky combat urban environment that any force has seen in decades", he said.

Army, police and elite counterterrorism units began the assault on the edges of western Mosul's Old City before dawn, backed by US -led coalition airstrikes and artillery.

Iraqi military commanders had expressed hope of taking control of the Old City's Grand al-Nuri mosque, from which Baghdadi declared the caliphate, before the fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on Saturday or Sunday in Iraq.

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