Iraqi forces, which drove Islamic militants out of eastern Mosul last month, battled suicide car bombs and bobby-trapped drones Friday near the Tigris river in a bid to rout fighters from the western half of the country’s second-largest city.
The advances in the Mamun neighborhood came a day after special forces joined the fight in the western sector against entrenched fighters from the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS.
Iraqi authorities declared the city’s eastern half “fully liberated” from the Sunni militants in January, three months after launching the operation to take back Mosul.
One Iraqi colonel leading the operation told the BBC that western Mosul “is where the real fighting starts.”
An Associated Press team near the front line saw at least four wounded special forces’ members and the bodies of three soldiers, suggesting more intense fighting than the previous day. The Iraqi military does not release official casualty information.
The fighting is complicated by the narrow streets, and alleys preclude the use of tanks and armored vehicles in western Mosul, which is divided by the Tigris. Advancing Iraqi special forces also often face suicide car bombs and armed drones unleashed by militants.
“There is a…
click here to read more