Iraqis find bomb fac­tory, tun­nels on long road to city

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

Iraqi forces ex­plored a net­work of tun­nels and un­cov­ered a bomb­mak­ing fa­cil­ity on Thurs­day in a vil­lage near Mo­sul that was re­cently re­taken from the Is­lamic State group, of­fer­ing a glimpse of the chal­lenge they will face as they move closer to the city.

Ten days into the of­fen­sive, the spe­cial forces are still at least 4 miles east of the city and have faced stiff re­sis­tance, with IS fir­ing mor­tars and ma­chine guns, and send­ing ar­mored sui­cide truck bombs trundling across the arid plains.

Once in­side the small, sparsely pop­u­lated vil­lages that ring Mo­sul, Iraqi forces must con­tend with ex­plo­sive booby-traps and hid­den snipers. The for­ti­fi­ca­tions are ex­pected to grow even more lethally daunt­ing once they en­ter Iraq’s sec­ond-largest city. The ex­trem­ists cap­tured Mo­sul in a mat­ter of days in 2014, and have had more than two years to build up its de­fenses and bru­tally root out any in­ter­nal op­po­si­tion.

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