Erbil – The US-led coalition launched a new wave of airstrikes on Islamic State (ISIS) positions in Iraq’s northern Mosul city. Tuesday’s air raids reportedly targeted the headquarters of al-Hisba, the Islamic police.
The coalition struck at least eight al-Hisba offices. Abdullah al-Malla, a local media activist, told ARA News: “Warplanes from the western coalition bombed al-Hisba centres in the neighbourhoods of Narkal, Sukkar, al-Sada, Baweza, Baath, Yarmouk, Sinaa and Fesaliyah in Mosul city.”
Dozens of ISIS militants were killed in Tuesday’s strikes, which also caused massive destruction to the targeted buildings. According to al-Malla, “Mosul witnessed the fiercest airstrikes by the coalition.”
Activists reported a state of alert in ISIS’ ranks following the airstrikes.
Battle for Mosul
Monday’s strikes are part of a broader coalition initiative to retake Mosul. The US-led coalition said that the ISIS has invested Mosul with thousands of jihadists, who have shown no sign of leaving their de facto capital.
“We think anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 [ISIS] fighters are in Mosul, somewhere in that ball park. It’s a mixture of Iraqi and foreign fighters,” Colonel Dorrian, a coalition spokesman said.
However, Abu Azzam al-Muhajir, an ISIS militant from Saudi Arabia, disagreed telling ARA News there are at least 7,000 militants “ready to defend Mosul.”
“Also, there are still 500,000 civilians living in Mosul, and they will not accept [their] return to the central government’s authority and rule by the Shia,” al-Muhajir added.
The US-led coalition said that ISIS jihadists are continuing to fortify Iraq’s second-largest city. “Really, what they’ve done is they’ve continued to dig in, build elaborate defenses and so we’re really ready for a tough fight there,” Col Dorrian said. “The Iraqi security forces have been well trained to do urban style warfare. That’s one of the things that we’ve done for refit.”
An ISIS member told ARA News that group has cordoned all the roads to Nineveh Governorate and has completed almost 80 percent of their field works around Mosul.
Those field works include a row of trenches, which are reportedly filled with crude oil. The trenches can be set alight to obscure visibility. ISIS has also erected concrete barriers near neighborhood entrances and key road junctures.
The coalition’s Col Dorrian said that at least 8 brigades of the Iraqi Army will march on Mosul. “We also expect the Iraqi Police to be involved, because they’re going to be a part of the effort to maintain security once areas have been liberated. [The police need] to hold those areas so [ISIS] can’t re-infiltrate.”
“We think it’s going to be a very large battle. We do expect the [Kurdish] Peshmerga to be involved, although the details of their involvement are still being worked out,” Dorrian said. ”We also expect there to be tribal forces involved.”
Reporting by: Raman Yousef | Source: ARA News
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