Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) A prominent booby trapping expert with the Islamic State has been killed along with four of his assistants in Tal Afar district, a strategic IS stronghold in western Mosul, a local source from Nineveh province said on Sunday.
The explosion took place in a residential building while attempting to booby trap it, the source added.
Alsumaria News quoted the source as saying, “Abu Hamza al-Tounsy, a prominent explosive expert with IS, was killed along with four of his aides in a two-storey residential building on the boundaries of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, while booby trapping it.”
“Tounsy has become famous over the past few months being one of the experts of booby trapping buildings and houses,” the source said, adding that “he came from Raqqa, Syria, in support of IS efforts in booby trapping.”
Pro-government militias, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) have been recapturing areas around Tal Afar from IS. The Shi’ite militias taking part in the Mosul campaign began to close in on Tal Afar late last year, after the offensive was launched.
Mosul is the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Iraq. Eastern Mosul was recaptured from IS in January. The forces recently regained control over strategic areas in the western region after a US-backed offensive was launched in October. A new offensive started in February to retake the west. The government troops have recently pushed deeper into the Old City, a densely-populated and -structured area which military officials view as central to the desired victory over IS militants.
Battles in the west are believed to be much more difficult due to the density of residential areas and the high number of civilians who the commanders believe are used as human shields by IS members.