Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants are seizing civilian-owned, four-wheeled-drive vehicles in western Mosul as the extremist group braces for an imminent offensive by Iraqi government forces seeking to retake the region.
A local source told Alsumaria News Wednesday that groups of IS militants had “surprisingly” begun to seize the new cars from civilians at some Mosul districts at gunpoint, especially Land Cruiser brands.
Four-wheeled-drive and SUV trucks are a common combat equipment for Islamic State militants who have lost many of their fighters, finances and equipment in the security campaign by Iraqi government forces, backed by U.S.-led troops and advisers, that has been running since mid October to retake the city taken over by the group in 2014.
Operations by Iraqi troops have so far managed to retake the whole of the eastern section of Mosul and kill at least 3300 IS militants, and the government is close to announcing the start of a new offensive to retake the western region, where Islamic State still holds most of districts as well as strategic towns on the borders with Syria.
The extremist group has already beefed up its deployments on the western side in preparation for the anticipated assault, according to reports.