Iraqi forces edge into Mo­sul; ma­jor ur­ban war­fare lies ahead

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

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.

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