ISIS Massacres Hundreds as Iraqi Army Battles in Downtown Mosul

Suicide bombers, IEDs, mass graves confront advancing government troops

Mideast Iraq Mosul

The Ninth Armored Division 109th artillery battalion of the Iraqi army fires a 155mm shell towards Islamic State militant positions in Mosul / AP

BY:

Iraqi forces pushing to reclaim Mosul are in a race against time to stop the terrorists from killing civilians in mass executions.

As Iraqi Joint Forces clear neighborhoods in Eastern Mosul, east of the Tigris River, the terrorist defenders are murdering large groups of civilians in West Mosul, according to eyewitness reports.

"ISIS terrorists have appeared in Mosul neighborhoods dressed in Iraqi Army uniforms to trick civilians to come out into the streets to welcome them. But those who do are arrested and executed elsewhere," said Ali Sada, editor of Daesh Daily, a war digest.

On the day Americans went to the polls a week ago, ISIS executed 130 civilians and hung their corpses from lamp posts, according to the website of the Iraqi Congress of Representatives. Hundreds have been executed in the town of Hamam Al Alil, 20 miles south of Mosul, where local residents stood up against ISIS a month ago and hoisted the Iraqi flag. Iraqi Army troops uncovered a mass grave containing more than 400 bodies of victims on Thursday.

ISIS arrested more than 100 people in the east side of Mosul Monday on charges they were trying to support Iraqi forces, according to a report on Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

When asked what would happen to them, the ISIS source said, "their destiny is known" meaning "as usual," according to Sada.

Since the assault began Oct. 17, ISIS has deployed more than 150 vehicle bombs in east Mosul. Most were destroyed before they could detonate. An unprecedented number of young terrorists are dying as suicide bombers as the battle progresses.

An ISIS counterattack in East Mosul's Qadisiya neighborhood Tuesday resulted in 26 would-be suicide bombers shot down by Iraqi troops, according to the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) commander.

Close to 1,400 terrorists have been killed since the assault began a month ago, according to a Coalition announcement Monday.

The Coalition fighter jets stepped up their bombing runs Monday, striking 43 targets in Nineveh Province, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The Ministry reported Monday that Coalition planes killed more than 40 Daesh terrorists and destroyed several vehicles, including vehicle bombs, in addition to defensive positions in Tel Keif District 10 miles north of Mosul on Sunday.

Lt. Gen. Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Saidi, the Counter Terrorism Service commander, said last week the Mosul liberation has been delayed because of the huge numbers of civilians trapped by ISIS. Although 54,000 Iraqi civilians have fled the city for internment camps in recent weeks, more than a million residents have remained in their houses and close to food markets which remain open sporadically, he said.

Observers call the new tactic "shelter in place." The tactic was used three months earlier to clear ISIS out of Shirqat, the large city 70 miles south of Mosul. If successful, this tactic will avoid the displacement of 700,000 civilians that the United Nations aid agencies said might be forced out of the city by fighting.

Ninety percent of residents in eastern Mosul have remained in their homes, according to Iraqi military officials. "The army commanders move them temporarily to a nearby liberated area, then spend one or two days clearing mines and IEDs, and then return the population of the neighborhood back to its homes," said Sada, the Daesh Daily editor.

Iraqi counter-terrorism units supported by Coalition air strikes and drones have moved to within two kilometers of the Tigris River that divides the city.

"Iraqi Security Forces are close to recapturing the Mosul International airport on the southern city limit of Mosul proper, and that base will greatly accelerate the takeover, because helicopters and combat aircraft can land right in the city," Yonadam Kanna, an Iraqi Member of Parliament, told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday.

The Popular Mobilization Forces have launched the "third phase" of their campaign west of Mosul, according a statement from PMF spokesman Ahmad Al-Asadi Monday. "Tal Afar's airfield, approximately 40 miles west of Mosul, is an important objective in the PMF campaign west of Mosul and once captured will be a launching point for further operations targeting Tal Afar city," according to Daesh Daily.

More than 600 Assyrian Christians and Shabbaks, a religious minority unique to the Mosul area, have been trained as policemen and are ready to keep order behind the advancing Iraqi army, Mr. Kanna told the Free Beacon.

Iraqi leaders and lawmakers have expressed their hopes that President-elect Donald Trump will continue to expand the military engagement with the Government of Iraq in order to close the book on ISIS terrorism.

Douglas Burton

Douglas Burton   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Douglas Burton is an independent writer specializing in terrorism and a former State Department official who served in Iraq.

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