Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have reportedly lost at least 30 men with a further 50 wounded in fierce fighting against Daesh militants in Mosul. These severe losses occurred during today’s fighting in both the eastern and southern sectors of the battle.
Al Jazeera also cited security sources as confirming that seven civilians, mostly women and children, were killed after aircraft bombed their homes in northern Mosul. It was not immediately clear whether the aircraft responsible for civilian deaths was Iraq or part of the US-led coalition.
For the past four days, civilians have been trapped in their homes as ISF units pounded Mosul’s eastern suburbs with heavy artillery fire. Rather than minimise the risk to civilians by engaging Daesh with infantry, the ISF are instead relying on preparatory artillery fire to level areas before moving in.
The United Nations and Iraqi officials have both repeatedly warned that Daesh have seized civilians and are using them as human shields, leading some analysts to express concern that shelling residential areas to avoid losses will in fact create more harm in the long-term due to the humanitarian crisis it will likely cause.
In Mosul’s eastern Al-Zahra district, the ISF suffered losses of at least five men killed, in addition to casualties suffered by embedded media crews, Anadolu reported.
Although ISF commanders had previously made statements that they controlled six neighbourhoods on Mosul’s eastern bank, today they confirmed that they have had to “partially withdraw” in order to regroup. This comes after they sustained heavy losses due to fierce resistance put up by Daesh fighters.
Hammam Al-Alil allegedly captured
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Joint Command responsible for the “We Are Coming, Ninawa” operation, issued a statement saying that ISF units had now taken control of central government buildings in Hammam Al-Alil, more than 15 kilometres south of Mosul itself.
However, Al Jazeera’s correspondent confirmed that Hammam Al-Alil was still contested and that Daesh fighters were counterattacking and had not evacuated the small town yet.