Iraqi forces consolidating gains in Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq — Iraqi special forces mopping up in territory seized in eastern Mosul killed eight Islamic State militants Wednesday as residents fled to safety from nearby areas and men shaved the beards they were forced to grow while the extremists were in control.
In the easternmost district of Gogjali, shops were boarded up, with some reduced to burned-out shells. Families stood in their doorways, some holding white flags, while children flashed the “V” for victory sign to the passing troops. A few women ululated in celebration as columns of vehicles passed.
Consolidating the gains in the area lays the groundwork for the troops’ next stage of operation: entering Mosul’s more urban central neighborhoods, a densely built-up zone likely to contain booby traps and roadside bombs.
That could mean house-to-house combat and might take weeks, if not months, with the city center about 6 miles away.
The area’s deputy “emir” was sprawled on a central street, shot and killed by soldiers when he tried to approach them in an explosives- laden vest. Residents watched as the body, clad in a military uniform, was dragged away past an Abrams tank.
A man the troops identified as the deputy’s superior was arrested and taken away in a military vehicle. He wore Afghan-style clothing popular among jihadis and a red a handkerchief worn as a headdress.