ISIS fighters regain some Mosul turf
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.
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.