Half a million Iraqis displaced in Mosul operation

Miranda GreerApr 19, 2017

The Iraqi government force's advance toward Mosul came after the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on February 19 the start of an offensive to drive the extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River which bisects the city.

The Iraqi army has advanced only slowly in recent weeks, since it moved into the edges of the old city in the heart of west Mosul.

The Iraqi official said that ISIS has launched talks with al-Qaeda after losing large territory in northern Iraq.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that about 500,000 people remain in western Mosul neighbourhoods that are still under the control of Islamic State militants, including 400,000 in the densely populated old city.

It is the second chemical attack against the Iraqi troop in two days, after an officer with the anti-terrorism unit said ISIS fired a rocket loaded with chlorine at the al-Abar neighborhood in western Mosul.

Food and water shortages continued in western Mosul in north Iraq, which has been cut off from its main supply route since November 2016, and remained largely inaccessible to aid workers, a United Nations spokesman said here Tuesday.

The militants are now surrounded in northwestern Mosul, using booby traps, sniper and mortar fire against the assailants.

The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group is seeking a possible alliance with al-Qaeda after suffering heavy losses, Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi said on Monday.

The United Nations says almost half a million civilians had fled fighting since the offensive to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists started on October 17, 2016.

According to the top US commander in Iraq, the battle for Western Mosul is the most brutal urban combat since World War II. They are being shot at, there are artillery barrages, families are running out of supplies, medicines are scarce and water is cut-off. "There are discussions and dialogue between messengers representing Baghdadi and representing Zawahiri", referring to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda.

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