34 Iraqi personnel killed in 18 days of fighting in Mosul: officer

Iraqi soldiers gather to go battle against Islamic State militants south of Mosul, Iraq, June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Mosul ( Iraqi security forces lost 34 personnel of multiple ranks during encounters with Islamic State militants in western Mosul over the past 18 days, according to a senior army officer.

Col. Salman Okashat, from the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces, told Anadolu Agency that those fell down during operations to recapture the districts of Yarmouk and Matahen, which troops took over recently.

Okashat said 76 other security members were wounded during the battles, adding that the forces were currently aiming at three other districts in the same scope of operations.

Iraqi government troops, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting, and launched a renewed offensive in February to retake the western region.

The Joint Operations Command said Tuesday that Islamic State militants were only in control over 6.8 percent of territory of Iraq.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command, which spearheads the campaign against IS in Mosul, has never given official tallies of its victims, and reports in that respect have relied on sporadic counts by officers in the field.

Late March, the U.S. Central Command said 284 Iraqi troopers were killed since operations began in western Mosul, while 490 were killed during battles for the east. The Iraqi command had dismissed the numbers as exaggerated.

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