IRAQ Forces pre­pare to take western side of Mo­sul

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

Iraqi planes dropped mil­lions of leaflets on the western side of Mo­sul warn­ing res­i­dents that the bat­tle to dis­lodge Is­lamic State forces is im­mi­nent as troops be­gan mov­ing in their di­rec­tion, the De­fense Min­istry said Satur­day.

The mil­i­tants are es­sen­tially un­der siege in western Mo­sul, along with an es­ti­mated 650,000 civil­ians, af­ter U.S.-backed forces sur­round­ing the city forced them from the east in the first phase of an of­fen­sive be­gun in Oc­to­ber to dis­lodge the ex­trem­ist group from its last ma­jor ur­ban strong­hold.

The leaflets said the troops had be­gun ad­vanc­ing to­ward western Mo­sul. “Your armed forces . . . are ad­vanc­ing in the di­rec­tion of the right side, re­ly­ing on God,” read one of the leaflets. Other leaflets warned Is­lamic State mem­bers to “lay down their weapons and sur­ren­der.”

Sep­a­rately, the U.S.-led mil­i­tary coali­tion said Satur­day that its forces had de­stroyed a build­ing in the main med­i­cal complex of western Mo­sul that was sus­pected of hous­ing an Is­lamic State com­mand cen­ter. The mil­i­tant group dis­puted that as­ser­tion, say­ing in an on­line state­ment that Fri­day’s strike had killed 18 peo­ple, mostly women and chil­dren, and wounded 47 oth­ers.

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