Government units battle IS in western town, far from Mosul
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.