West Mosul shelled as Iraq steps up fight against Islamic State

Iraqi soldiers carry weapons during an operation against Islamic State militants in the neighbourhood of Intisar, eastern Mosul

From Reuters:

“Western-backed Iraqi forces have begun shelling parts of west Mosul, residents said, in preparation for a new front against Islamic State seven weeks into a difficult campaign to drive the militants from the city.

Federal police forces, stationed a few miles south of Mosul, on the west bank of the Tigris River that divides the city, have long said they aim to advance towards the airport on the southwestern edge.

Military commanders hope that by opening a second front within the city they can increase pressure on the few thousand jihadists who have deployed suicide bombers, snipers and militant cells against elite Iraqi troops in eastern districts.

Some 100,000 Iraqi soldiers, security forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and mainly Shi’ite paramilitary forces are participating in the assault that began on Oct. 17, with air and ground support from a U.S.-led international military coalition.”

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