Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Global | By Doris Richards

UN Official Says Scale Of Civilians Fleeing Iraq's Mosul 'Staggering'

UN Official Says Scale Of Civilians Fleeing Iraq's Mosul 'Staggering'

The militant Islamic State group is talking to Al Qaeda about a possible alliance as Iraqi troops close in on IS fighters in Mosul, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said in an interview on Monday.

Iraqi forces are fighting to recapture west Mosul from IS after retaking the eastern side earlier this year, while soldiers and pro-government paramilitaries are also operating west of the city as part of the operation.

In Iraq, flooding in Tigris River has cut off aid supplies and escape routes for people fleeing Islamic State militants in Mosul city.

The advance has hardly moved for more than a month, though, as the militants are holding out in the densely populated Old City in western Mosul, where tanks and heavy vehicles are not able to operate because of its narrow streets.

Iraqi forces made major gains in the six months since launching the operation to retake Mosul, but the battle for Iraq's second city and the war against the Islamic State group are far from over.

"ISIS suicide motorcycles now are their favorite weapon inside the Old City", he said.

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The country's military said jihadists fired a chlorine-filled rocket at troops who are trying to seize the west of the Iraqi city from IS.

That "makes it very hard for any offensive manoeuvre in there, but it makes it very easy to defend", Uribe said.

Anti-terrorism forces affiliated the Iraqi army clashed for more than 13 hours until Thursday noon with Daesh militants in the neighborhood, which is regarded as one of the most important strongholds of the terror group in the western part of the city, Police Capt.

The UN estimated that another half million civilians were still in ISIS-controlled areas of west Mosul.

"Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits", said Grande.

The Iraqi government also announced that the number of people who have managed to flee the ISIS terrorists in Mosul has reached 500,000.

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