Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) One army soldier was killed and four others, including two militia fighters, were wounded when Islamic State fighters attacked government forces and popular militias north of Mosul.
Zoheir al-Jubouri, spokesperson of the Nineveh Guards militia, said in press statements that a soldier from the army’s 16th division was killed, two other army officers and two from his forces were wounded when militants waged a violent attack on the forces at Bawiza, north of the city. He said air force and artillery backup helped the forces push militants back and destroy vehicles they were planning to use to bring down security barricades.
Earlier, Rudaw agency quoted Col. Mohamed al-Wakka, an officer at the media office of government military operations in Nineveh, as saying that Iraqi forces foiled an attack by IS in Baawiza. “A number of IS( militants) were killed during the encounters, and 3-4 booby-trapped vehicles were also destroyed before they were used in the attack.”
On the western front, Kataeb Hezbollah, a militia operating as part of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), rebuffed another attack near the strategic IS stronghold of Tal Afar. The group said a number of militants were either killed or wounded, while several vehicles belonging to the militants were destroyed.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in statements on Tuesday that defeating IS needs three extra months. He had previously hoped the battle would wrap up before the end of 2016. His comments are more optimistic than US coalition commanders who envision victory within two years at least. Iraqi generals have said they now control a quarter of Mosul (or 40 districts out of 56 in the east), but the extremist group still bombs and launches suicide attacks on liberated areas.
ISIS remains in control of some areas of the western section, which is adjacent to its strongholds in Syria. But PMU forces say they are ready for liberating ISIS locations in that region, saying the area had been isolated from Syria, depriving the group of supplies from Syria.
The battles for Mosul has forced 137.000 people to flee homes to refugee camps, according to the latest count by the Ministry of Migration and Displacement.