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The New Arab

#MosulOp: IS resistance 'very weak' on second day

The long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul began on Monday [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 October, 2016

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Iraqi forces have resumed their offensive aimed at retaking Mosul with intensified coalition air raids and heavy artillery bombarding villages east of the IS-held city.

Iraqi forces have resumed their offensive aimed at retaking Mosul with intensified coalition air raids and heavy artillery bombarding villages east of the IS-held city.

Iraqi military sources said on Tuesday that IS' attempts to push back the offensive was "very weak", as Iraqi forces moved to capture more villages surrounding Iraq's second-largest city.

A Wall Street Journal report earlier this week, citing unnamed commanders in the militant group, suggested IS may be planning to abandon the city without resistance, and focus on holding on to their strongholds in Syria across the border.

The long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul and deal a death blow to IS began on Monday - some 30,000 federal forces are leading the offensive, backed by air and ground support from a 60-nation US-led coalition, in what is expected to be a long assault.

"The villages are being heavily bombarded, our forces achieved our goals according to plan. There has been a high level of coordination between the international coalition and the forces on the ground," an Iraqi military source told The New Arab's correspondent.

     
      The assault  has raised concerns for the hundreds of thousands
of civilians in Mosul [Getty]

"IS have carried out several assaults, the majority of which have been dealt with. They also carried out suicide attacks in nine villages that were recaptured yesterday," another Iraqi military official said.

"The advance into other areas will take place according to the situation on the ground, because as we move forward we find more mines, bombs and IEDs, some of which are hidden in plants and difficult to uncover."

The source said that several Iraqi government troops were killed by an IED on Tuesday along the southern frontline of the battle.

A source inside the embattled city said that Iraqi planes airdropped leaflets onto the city asking residents to stay in their homes and avoid areas where IS troops are stationed.

The start of the long-awaited assault raised deep concerns for hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in Iraq's second-largest city, with aid groups warning of a massive humanitarian crisis.

Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014 as the militants swept over much of the country's Sunni-majority north-western and central areas.

Weeks later the head of the extremist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque.

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