Mil­i­tants strike back in Mo­sul

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

With the fight for Mo­sul in its fi­nal stage Mon­day, Is­lamic State mil­i­tants sent fe­male sui­cide bombers hid­den among flee­ing civil­ians, while Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coali­tion un­leashed pun­ish­ing airstrikes and ar­tillery fire that set dozens of build­ings ablaze.

At least one Iraqi sol­dier was killed and five were wounded in the two sep­a­rate sui­cide at­tacks, the mil­i­tary said. On Sun­day, a bomber in women’s cloth­ing killed 14 peo­ple at a camp for dis­placed res­i­dents in An­bar prov­ince, a pro­vin­cial of­fi­cial said.

“These tac­tics don’t sur­prise me,” said Sgt. Ahmed Fadil, who pa­trolled Mo­sul’s Old City just 50 me­tres (yards) from the front.

The mil­i­tants “have nowhere to go. They’re trapped,” he said.

Mon­day’s two sui­cide bomb­ings against Iraqi sol­diers fol­lowed three other such at­tacks by women — some of them teenagers — in the pre­vi­ous two days, said Sgt. Ali Ab­dul­lah Hus­sein.

A sol­dier dis­played the school ID card re­trieved from the body of one of the bombers, show­ing her to be only 15. The photo was of se­ri­ous young woman in a white hi­jab and in­di­cated she had stud­ied in Bangladesh.

“Most of the peo­ple who blew them­selves up to­day are women,” said spe­cial forces Lt. Col. Salam Hus­sein. He added that seven women strapped with ex­plo­sives ap­proached the troops Mon­day, “but thank God, our units stopped (them).”

AP PHOTO

A woman screams while flee­ing with her fam­ily through a de­stroyed al­ley, as Iraqi Spe­cial Forces con­tinue their ad­vance against Is­lamic State mil­i­tants, in the Old City of Mo­sul, Iraq, Sun­day.

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