04 December, 2016
The first full month of Iraq's Mosul offensive saw a precipitous rise in the already high monthly death tolls for combatants that have plagued Iraq in recent years, with the United Nations figures showing 1,959 Iraqi troops killed in the fighting, along with countless more wounded.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi launched the Mosul offensive on october 17, aiming to crush Islamic State in the largest city it controls in Iraq and neighboring Syria. "The bombs are causing heavy casualties among Iraqi forces and slowing down what's already a frustratingly slow fight to dislodge the terrorist group from its urban stronghold".
"In its desperate attempt to cling on to territory it controls in Mosul and Ninewa areas, Da'esh [also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] has been employing the most vicious tactics, using civilian homes as firing positions, as well as abducting and forcibly moving civilians, effectively using them as human shields", Mr. Kubiš explained.
That's almost triple the number of military casualties reported in October, when an offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS first began. Fifty-two foreign civilians were also killed and 31 injured.
Remote-guided vehicle bomb confiscated by the Iraqi army in Mosul on November 28.
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Media sources indicated that the bomber driving a booby-trapped tanker blew himself up in the morning in the Qadisiyah neighborhood, killing at least 24 and wounding dozens more, including women and children. Militants had no limit on who they would use, even grabbing young boys from neighboring villages and forcing them onto the frontline.
In his first televised update since the Mosul operation began on October 17, Yarullah also described some of the challenges that an array of Iraqi fighters - including army, federal police and elite counterterrorism troops, along with local tribesmen and Iranian-backed militiamen - had encountered in weeks of fierce fighting.
To the south, Iraqi federal police have reached the outskirts of the city and are awaiting orders to storm the strategic al Ghazlani military base and Mosul airport, according to a statement from the police.
Dorrian said he could not estimate when the Islamic State would be cleared from Iraq's second-largest city, adding that it is "going to take some time. but ultimately the flag of Iraq is going to be raised in the center of the city".
The Shiite militias last month seized the airstrip just outside Tal Afar, but no attack has yet been launched to retake the city itself.