Monday, April 10, 2017

Mosul Campaign Day 174-175, Apr 8-9, 2017

Palm Sunday services held for first time in three years in church in Qaraqosh, Ninewa, which was burned by Islamic State (Reuters)

The Iraqi forces (ISF) are only carrying out minimal operations in west Mosul in preparation for an impending big push to seize the Old City district. On April 8 the Federal Police claimed it achieved a breakthrough in the Zinjali neighborhood in the Old City. The police said this cut off some Islamic State supply routes to the area. The next day Federal Police commander General Shakir Jawadat stated that 60% of the defenses around the Grand Mosque in the Old City were destroyed. Iraqi propaganda is anything but consistent since Golden Division General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi was quoted in the press a week before that all the defenses were breached. Whatever the percentage is the Iraqi police have been inching towards the mosque for weeks now. Finally the Golden Division seized the Matahen neighborhood in central west Mosul. That unit has been moving up the western and central section of the city to try to encircle the Old City, which is now surrounded on two sides by the ISF with a third running along the Tigris River. The final push into this area should be coming soon. According to Al Mada the operation was supposed to have already started, but was delayed due to heavy civilian casualties.

There were more reports of executions and chlorine attacks by the Islamic State in Mosul. The group allegedly executed 50 for trying to flee inside the city. Baghdad Post also claimed that mortar shells filled with chlorine hit two neighborhoods that sent 70 to the hospital. There are similar stories nearly every week, but none of them have been confirmed. IS has used chlorine before.

IS also picked up its operations in liberated east Mosul. Three suicide bombers were arrested, and two more were killed attempting to attack the Salam Hospital. The insurgents shell the east nearly every day, but this was the first report of suicide bombers for quite some time. With less fighting going on in the west, perhaps the militants thought they could spare some bombers to try to hit the east.

Finally, Palm Sunday was celebrated for the first time in three years at a church burned by the Islamic State in Qaraqosh, Ninewa. Unfortunately, the town is mostly deserted with the churchgoers driving in from Irbil where they fled to when the Islamic State seized the area in 2014. The Ninewa Plains used to be full of Christian communities, but many were destroyed by the IS offensive three years ago. Few have returned as most of the villages are destroyed, there is little to no rebuilding going on, and many have started new lives in Kurdistan and feel safer there. This is just one example of the demographic changes the Islamic State has brought about in the country.


Adel, Loaa, "Security forces storm building kill over 30 IS members in western Mosul," Iraqi News, 4/9/17

Baghdad Post, "13 killed, 90 injured, including women, children, in Mosul shelling," 4/9/17
- "ISIS terrorists shell western Mosul with chlorine gas," 4/9/17
- "Nineveh's governor survives assassination attempt," 4/9/17

Cook, Floyd, "IS Shoots Down Iraqi Helicopter Over Mosul," 4/8/17

Dearden, Lizzie, “Isis kills dozens of civilians caught attempting to flee Mosul and hangs bodies up on electricity poles,” Independent, 4/8/17

Laessin, Ulf, “Iraqis celebrate Palm Sunday near Mosul for the first time in three years,” Reuters, 4/9/17

Al Maalomah, "Three female suicide bombers arrested in Mosul," 4/8/17

Al Mada, “Federal Police Commander: Mosul operations have become more accurate,” 4/9/17
- “A new military plan is emerging for the operation in western Mosul,” 4/8/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “Police say brought down 60% of IS defenses around Mosul landmark mosque,” Iraqi News, 4/9/17

New Sabah, “Daesh front lines destroyed near the Great Mosque and Hadbaa lighthouse in Mosul city,” 3/27/17
- “Federal Police break the front lines of Daesh in the Zinjali neighborhood in Mosul,” 4/8/17

NINA, "Security Forces Kill 2 Suicide Bombers Before Targeting Them At Salam Hospital In Mosul," 4/8/17
- "URGENT… Security Forces Foil An Attack To Daesh And Kill A Medical Team In Two Separate Incidents In Central Mosul," 4/8/17

Shafaa News, "News of a new massacre killing 50 civilians who tried to flee from central Mosul," 4/8/17
- "The popular crowd repulsed a Daash attack in Tal Afar," 4/9/17

Sputnik, "Iraqi Special Forces Liberate Matahin District of Mosul From Daesh Militants," 4/9/17


Titus Veridius said...

The Old City should prove very fun to fight within. I mean...not fun. At all. As one can guess, it has very narrow streets, and the buildings are packed in tight enough that in many places you can run from rooftop to rooftop all the way down the street. In many places you can't get an armored vehicle down the streets and have to progress on foot.

Good luck Iraqi Army.

Joel Wing said...

It's a major reason why the Iraqi police halted their assault upon the district a few weeks ago. They literally got stuck and the heavy civilian casualties made them pause.

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