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Intense Fighting Rages in Mosul

A soldier from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd division guards two suspected IS fighters found hiding in a house in the eastern Samah area of Mosul.A soldier from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd division guards two suspected IS fighters found hiding in a house in the eastern Samah area of Mosul.

Elite Iraqi forces were engaged in “intense” fighting with militants in eastern Mosul on Saturday, an officer said, as civilians gathered on the city’s outskirts to flee the violence.

Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake the country’s second city from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group on October 17, and the Counter-Terrorism Service special forces have pushed the militants back from some Mosul neighborhoods.

But there are still weeks if not months of fighting ahead in the battle to recapture the last IS-held Iraqi city and aid workers have warned that displacement may spike as Iraqi troops push deeper into Mosul, AFP reported.

“The fighting is intense this morning. We’re trying to fortify our positions in Arbajiyah before continuing our attack into Al-Bakr,” said Staff Lieutenant Colonel Muntadhar Salem of CTS, referring to two Mosul areas.

Salem later clarified that the aim was to surround Al-Bakr but not to assault it for now.

“There were three car bombs coming out from Al-Bakr toward our positions that we spotted with our drone and hit with our tanks,” Salem said.

As fighting raged deeper in the city, civilians, some of them carrying white flags, walked toward its outskirts, gathering near an Iraqi military truck that would take them out of the city to safety.

More than 49,000 people have been displaced since the Mosul operation began, the International Organization for Migration said on Saturday.

Aid workers have said that a million or more people could be displaced by the battle for Mosul, meaning that the worst may still be ahead.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes have since regained significant ground from the terrorists.

 

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