Iraqi forces edge into Mosul; major urban warfare lies ahead
Iraq’s special forces fought their way into the outskirts of Mosul on Tuesday, taking its state television building despite resistance by Islamic State group fighters that is only likely to stiffen when combat reaches the inner city.
It was the first time Iraqi troops have set foot in the city, Iraq’s second-largest, in more than two years. The advance was the start of what is likely to be a grueling and slow operation for the forces as they fend off booby traps and ambushes in difficult, house-to-house fighting expected to take weeks, if not months.
Troops entered Gogjali, a neighborhood inside Mosul’s city limits, and later the outskirts of the more built-up Karama district, according to Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi special forces. As the sun went down, a sandstorm blew in, reducing visibility to only 100 yards and bringing the day’s combat to an end.
Mosul is the last major IS stronghold in Iraq.