Monday, 18 June, 2018

IS counterattacks in retaken parts of Mosul stall Iraq push

Sammy Stanley | 29 June, 2017, 09:01

Assadi said the attempt to take over the neighborhoods had failed and the militants were now besieged in one or two pockets of Hay al-Tanak.

Iraqi policeman spray paint a house exterior to warn that it is booby trapped during fighting against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, June 26, 2017.

"They knew that the battle had been decided in favor of the Iraqi forces and they knew that we were going to enter the mosque in only a few hours", said Iraqi special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, adding that his troops were only 50 meters (yards) from the mosque site.

A US-led worldwide coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight-month-old offensive.

But, emblematic of its own impending destruction, Dillon said, on June 21 ISIS destroyed the historic Great Mosque of al-Nuri from which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the caliphate in July 2014.

"The responsibility of this devastation is laid firmly at the doorstep of ISIS, and we continue to support our Iraqi partners as they bring these terrorists to justice".

The army recaptured eastern Mosul in January and is now fighting to retake control of the western part of the city.

The troops managed to free the neighborhood located in the northwestern part of the old city, after days of back-and-forth battles, while an army force continued street-to-street battles in the adjacent al-Mashahda neighborhood.

The civilians are trapped in crumbling old houses in harrowing conditions, with little food, water or medicines, according to those who have escaped.

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Iraqi special forces have opened up roads for civilians to escape in Mosul.

The attacks also underscore the security threat that IS will likely pose, long after the militant group is routed from all of Mosul and other territory it holds in Iraq.

Press TV's correspondent Ali Mousawi has travelled to the second largest city of Iraq, Mosul, to file this report for us.

The attack, which was claimed by ISIS, sowed panic among residents who returned to live in the Tanak and Yarmuk neighborhoods of west Mosul.

Aid organisations say ISIL has stopped many from leaving, using them as human shields.

An Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber has blown himself up during a meeting in Mosul that also killed a number of commanders.

In Syria, the Islamic State-held capital of Raqqa, is virtually encircled by a USA -backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and has been assumed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border area.

The blazing 45 degree heat and stench of dead bodies have given the last days of the battle an apocalyptic feel, soldiers on the frontlines report.

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