by WorldTribune Staff, November 6, 2016
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL) use of car bombs and human shields has slowed Iraq’s advance on Mosul.
ISIL has deployed waves of suicide car bombs, as well as mortar attacks, roadside bombs and sniper fire against the advancing Iraqi army.
“We are carrying out the toughest urban warfare that any force in the world could undertake,” said Sabah al-Numani, spokesman for Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS).
“Sometimes they climb to the rooftops of houses where civilians are still living and they hold them hostage and open fire on our forces, because they know we will not use airstrikes against targets that have civilians.”
Numani said ISIL jihadists waving white flags sometimes approach Iraqi troops only to set off bombs.
Maj. Gen. Maan al-Sadi, a CTS commander, told state television that ISIL had launched more than 100 car bombs against his forces in the east, which is just one of several fronts in the Mosul offensive.
A top Kurdish security official said ISIL has also deployed drones strapped with explosives, and long-range artillery shells filled with chlorine and mustard gas.
Elsewhere in Iraq on Nov. 6, ISIL jihadists used explosives-laden ambulances for bombing attacks that killed at least 21 people in Tikrit and Samarra.
In Tikrit, a terrorist drove a booby-trapped ambulance into a line of vehicles queuing at a checkpoint at the southern entrance to the city. Witnesses said the blast was so huge it blew some victims into a nearby river.
The attack in the holy city of Samarra targeted Shia pilgrims, including Iranians.
Meanwhile, U.S.-backed Syrian fighters announced on Nov. 6 the start of a campaign to drive ISIL out of its de factor capital at Raqqa.
Washington says the battle for Raqqa will “overlap” with the assault on Mosul, in part because of concerns that any delay would allow ISIL to use it as a base to launch attacks on targets abroad.