Spe­cial forces con­sol­i­date gains in east­ern Mo­sul

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

Iraq’s spe­cial forces, mop­ping up in ter­ri­tory seized in east­ern Mo­sul, killed eight Is­lamic State mil­i­tants Wed­nes­day as res­i­dents fled to safety from nearby ar­eas and men shaved the beards they were forced to grow while the ex­trem­ists were in con­trol.

In the east­ern­most dis­trict of Gog­jali, shops were boarded up, with some re­duced to burned-out shells. Fam­i­lies stood in their door­ways, some hold­ing white flags, while chil­dren flashed the “V’’ for vic­tory sign to the pass­ing troops. A few women ul­u­lated in cel­e­bra­tion as col­umns of ve­hi­cles passed.

Con­sol­i­dat­ing the gains in the area lays the ground­work for the troops’ next stage of op­er­a­tion: en­ter­ing Mo­sul’s more ur­ban cen­tral neigh­bor­hoods, a densely built-up zone likely to con­tain booby traps and road­side bombs.

That could mean house-to-house com­bat and might take weeks, if not months, with the city cen­ter about 6 miles away.

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