Forces clear build­ings in Mo­sul af­ter ad­vances

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

Iraqi spe­cial forces cleared build­ings on Satur­day in neigh­bor­hoods they en­tered in eastern Mo­sul a day ear­lier, af­ter push­ing out Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in their drive to take back the city.

Fight­ing con­tin­ued in the morn­ing, with both sides fir­ing mor­tars and au­to­matic weapons on each other’s po­si­tions, while the Iraqi troops also re­sponded with ar­tillery. Clashes were most in­tense in the al-Bakr neigh­bor­hood. Sniper du­els played out from rooftops in the mostly res­i­den­tial ar­eas, where the ma­jor­ity of build­ings are two sto­ries high.

“Daesh is in the city cen­ter and we must be very care­ful as our forces ad­vance,” said Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi spe­cial forces, us­ing the Ara­bic acro­nym for the IS group. With more densely packed neigh­bor­hoods ahead, his forces will be chal­lenged to avoid both higher mil­i­tary and civil­ian ca­su­al­ties.

As he spoke, dozens of civil­ians emerged from their homes, some of them car­ry­ing white flags.

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