ISIS fight­ers re­gain some Mosul turf

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

MOSUL, Iraq — De­spite cling­ing to only a sliver of ter­ri­tory in Mosul, Is­lamic State mil­i­tants man­aged a coun­ter­at­tack Fri­day that re­versed days of Iraqi army ter­ri­to­rial gains in a mat­ter of hours.

The of­fen­sive be­gan just af­ter noon, when 50 to 100 Is­lamic State fight­ers be­gan fir­ing on units of the Iraqi army’s 16th Di­vi­sion in charge of hold­ing the north­west front line in Mosul’s Old City neigh­bor­hood. The at­tack broke through the army’s first line of de­fense, and the rest of its lines soon crum­bled.

The sur­prise at­tack il­lus­trated the re­silience of the ex­trem­ists, who, though con­trol­ling less than a half-mile of ter­ri­tory, have main­tained the abil­ity to con­duct both con­ven­tional mil­i­tary coun­ter­at­tacks and in­sur­gent strikes.

At least five sol­diers were killed and 25 wounded, said a doc­tor at a field hos­pi­tal a few hun­dred yards from the front. The Iraqi mil­i­tary was forced to pull back about 80 yards, be­hind a row of build­ings along one of the Old City’s few main roads, said an Iraqi of­fi­cer over­see­ing the Mosul op­er­a­tion who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity in line with reg­u­la­tions.

AP/FELIPE DANA

An Iraqi sol­dier holds his po­si­tion in an al­ley near the front line in Mosul’s Old City as Iraqi forces con­tin­ued their bat­tle with Is­lamic State fight­ers.

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