Mosul car bombs target Iraqi troops
Iraqi troops encountered the heaviest clashes yet with Islamic State group fighters Sunday in western Mosul since the start of the new push more than two weeks ago, according to a senior commander.
Maj. Gen. Haider al-Ma- turi of the Federal Police Commandos Division told The Associated Press that IS militants dispatched at least six suicide car bombs, which were all destroyed before reaching the troops. The militants, he said, are moving from house to house and deploying snipers.
The wave of heavy resistance comes as Iraqi forces launched attacks against IS-held neighborhoods in western Mosul from three points Sunday morning. The Federal Police are closing in on the city’s main govern- ment complex in the Dawasa neighborhood and Iraq’s special forces are attempting to push into the Shuhada and Mansour neighborhoods.
IS fighters have “some mortar (teams) and snipers positioned inside homes,” said Iraqi special forces Maj. Ali Talib, explaining that U.S.- led coalition airstrikes have helped destroy some of the IS defenses, but clashes are still ongoing.
Al-Maturi, of the federal police, said his troops are now some 500 meters away from the government complex.
Also on Su n day, The Hague, Netherlands-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement the organization was “seriously concerned” about reports of chemical weapons use in Mosul.
“The OPCW has asked Iraqi authorities for more information and has offered its assistance to the Iraqi investigation,” the statement said.
The alleged attack occurred last week in a neighborhood along the Tigris River in eastern Mosul, an area declared fully liberated by Iraqi forces in January. Hospital officials said 10 patients were admitted for exposure and would be discharged in the coming days.
The United Nations warned that the alleged use of chemical weapons, if confirmed, would be a war crime and a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
Iraqi civilians flee their homes in Mosul due to fighting there between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants Sunday.