IS Snipers Slow Advance in Mosul 05/28 10:52
BAGHDAD (AP) -- The advance of government troops slowed on Sunday in the
last push to drive Islamic State group militants from remaining pockets of
Mosul, two Iraqi military officers said.
On Saturday, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces began a new offensive to recapture the
Old City from three directions. Hours after announcing the push, the government
said two military officers were killed in clashes in the Shafaa neighborhood on
the Tigris River.
IS militants have deployed snipers, suicide car bombers and suicide
attackers on foot, the officers said. They described the advance on Mosul's Old
City as "cautious" and the clashes on Sunday as "sporadic" without giving
details on casualty figures from either side.
The troops captured Ibn Sina hospital, part of the sprawling medical complex
in the Shafaa neighborhood, the officers added. They spoke on condition of
anonymity in line with regulations.
Mosul's wide-scale military operation was launched in October and its
eastern half was declared liberated in January. The push for the city's west
began the following month.
The IS hold on Mosul has shrunk to just a handful of neighborhoods in and
around the Old City district where narrow streets and a dense civilian
population are expected to complicate the fight there.
On Friday, Iraqi planes dropped leaflets over the area, encouraging the
civilians to flee "immediately" to "safe passages" where they will be greeted
by "guides, protectors and (transportation) to reach safe places," according to
a government statement.
The U.N. estimated that as many as 200,000 people may try to leave in the
coming days, while Save the Children warned that fleeing civilians could be
caught in the crossfire, leading to "deadly chaos."