Monday, 15 October, 2018

After ISIS counterattack, Iraqi forces continue bloody offensive in Mosul

Islamic State blows up Mosul mosque where it declared 'caliphate': Iraqi military Abadi: ISIL Sent 'Official Declaration of Defeat' by Bombing Nuri Mosque in Mosul
Kenny Thornton | 29 June, 2017, 09:16

His comments came as ISIS militants launched Monday a surprise assault on the Tanak neighborhood, west of the city.

Iraqi forces had about 600 meters (2,000 ft) left to cover before they reach Cornishe Street alongside the western bank of the Tigris, Federal Police commander Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat told Iraqi State TV.

Both the Iraqi city of Samarra and the western province of Anbar had been liberated of IS militants a year ago but have seen occasional counter-attacks by the extremist group.

"CTS forces liberated Faruq al-Ola neighbourhood in the Old City", said Lieutenant General Abdul Ami Rashid Yarallah of the Joint Operations Command coordinating the battle against IS.

A CTS medic said the attack had caused deaths but he could not say how many.

Aid organizations say Daesh has stopped many civilians from leaving, using them as human shields.

He said 15 to 20 militants were also killed in the battle.

ISIL has carried out sporadic suicide bombings in parts of Mosul using sleeper cells. Footage showed families, fearing a return to Isil rule, leaving by auto and on foot against a backdrop of rising black smoke.

Local forces have been encouraged to cut off Raqqa and Mosul before they try to liberate them, to prevent hundreds of hardened jihadists fleeing to Europe when Isil collapses.

Trump says 'oui' to French leader's Bastille Day invitation
They also shared an awkward exchange at a May NATO conference where Macron gave Trump a "white-knuckle" handshake , which he called a "moment of truth".

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

'Fighting is very intense in the Old City and civilians are at extreme, nearly unimaginable risk, ' said Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, in a statement.

Iraqi troops have led the fight to retake Mosul, held by the militants since 2014, but a US -led worldwide coalition has provided air and ground support.

Formally launched in October, the fight for Mosul has displaced more than 850,000 people.

Children play on debris in a neighborhood recently retaken by Iraqi security forces during fighting against Islamic State militants in west Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Around 150,000 civilians are thought to be trapped in the Old City, where conditions are deteriorating.

"From a military perspective, Daesh (Islamic State) is finished", Assadi said.

The group blew up Mosul's historic Nuri mosque on Wednesday, which was also the place where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his "caliphate" in 2014. ISIS remains in control of large areas of both Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi troops on Monday captured Al Faruq quarter, facing the mosque, the military said. It was reported earlier in the year that the extremist group had finally been pinned down in what many at the time believed would have been the final push to take back the city.

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