Iraqi forces in Mo­sul’s first district Karama

Coun­tert­er­ror­ism unit paused ad­vance last week af­ter quicker gains

The Star (Kenya) - - News World -

REUTERS/ Iraqi troops en­tered the Karama district of the Is­lamic State strong­hold of Mo­sul yes­ter­day, their first ad­vance into the city it­self af­ter two weeks of fight­ing in the sur­round­ing area to dis­lodge the mil­i­tants, an of­fi­cer said.

“They have en­tered Mo­sul,” Gen Wis­sam Araji of the US-trained Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Ser­vice told Reuters. “They are fight­ing now in Hay (dis­rict) al-Karama.”

The coun­tert­er­ror­ism unit re­sumed the of­fen­sive on the eastern front yes­ter­day. It had paused its ad­vance last week af­ter it made gains quicker than forces on other fronts, to al­low them to close the gap and get nearer to the city.

Iraqi se­cu­rity forces and Kur­dish Pesh­merga fight­ers started the of­fen­sive on Oc­to­ber 17, with air and ground sup­port from the US-led coali­tion against the hard­line Sunni group.

Pro-Ira­nian Iraqi Shi­ite mili­tias joined the fight­ing on Satur­day, aim­ing to cut the route be­tween Mo­sul and Raqqa, Is­lamic State’s main strong­hold in Syria.

The bat­tle for Mo­sul, still home to 1.5 mil­lion res­i­dents, is shap­ing up to be one of the tough­est in a decade of tur­moil fol­low­ing the US-led in­va­sion that top­pled Sad­dam Hus­sein in 2003.

The CTS will hold its ad­vance in Karama un­til the forces on the other fronts ad­vance “to pro­tect their back,” Araji said in Bazwaia, a vil­lage which was re­taken from Is­lamic State ear­lier in the day, at the edge of the city’s eastern sub­urb.

IS mil­i­tants have been fight­ing off the of­fen­sive with sui­cide car bombs, snipers and mor­tar fire.

/REUTERS

A mem­ber of Iraqi spe­cial forces po­lice fires his ri­fle dur­ing clashes with Is­lamic State fight­ers in al Shura, south of Mo­sul, Iraq, on Sun­day

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