Govern­ment units bat­tle IS in western town, far from Mo­sul

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

Iraqi forces bat­tled Is­lamic State fight­ers for a third day in a re­mote western town far from Mo­sul on Tues­day, but the U.S.-led coali­tion in­sisted the lat­est in a se­ries of “spoiler at­tacks” had not forced it to di­vert re­sources from the fight to re­take Iraq’s sec­ond-largest city.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi ac­knowl­edged that the mil­i­tants briefly seized the lo­cal govern­ment head­quar­ters in the western town of Rutba, of­fer­ing new de­tails about the as­sault, which U.S. and Iraqi of­fi­cials have sought to down­play since it be­gan on Sun­day.

The White House en­voy to the U.S.-led coali­tion bat­tling IS in­sisted the mil­i­tants’ strat­egy was fail­ing, say­ing there had been “no di­ver­sion what­so­ever” of forces tak­ing part in the Mo­sul op­er­a­tion, which is ex­pected to take weeks, if not months.

“Daesh is try­ing to launch spoiler at­tacks,” Brett McGurk told re­porters at a Baghdad news con­fer­ence, us­ing the Ara­bic acro­nym for IS.

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