- Title: Iraqi troops face fierce resistance as they advance further into Mosul
- Date: 13th November 2016
- Summary: BODY OF ISLAMIC STATE MILITANT
- Embargoed: 28th November 2016 16:53
- Keywords: Iraq Mosul Islamic State Al-Zahraa
- Location: MOSUL, IRAQ
- City: MOSUL, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00258A2BEV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
The elite Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service faced fierce resistance from Islamic State militants on Sunday (November 13) in the al-Zahraa neighbourhood, located in eastern Mosul.
Special forces and a tank division fighting to expand their foothold in the east of the city for nearly two weeks, have faced determined opposition from the militants, who have launched waves of suicide bombers, sniper attacks and ambushes.
"Heavy clashes ensued, a street war, from one home to the other in the Tahrir neighbourhood. We killed a large number of terrorists and suicide bombers, you may have seen their bodies. The clashes were very close. Our only concern is to protect the civilians in the Tahrir neighbourhood," said Major Diya Rahme, referring to a neighbourhood next to al-Zahraa.
The fierce ebb and flow of battle in Mosul's eastern districts is leaving residents feeling under constant threat, even after army advances in their neighbourhoods, as counter-attacks by Islamic State jihadists often put them straight back in the firing line.
Many chose to flee their homes, escaping the continuing clashes in the area.
"The army has advanced, they are now in the Bakr neighbourhood, we were there. The (militants) then moved onto the Nour neighbourhood, they used explosives, they targeted our homes and cars. We want to go to the refugee camps, it is better," said fleeing Mosul resident, Mutaz Mustafa.
The army said it controls or has advanced in nearly a dozen districts in Mosul.
But the situation is fluid with announcements of gains often followed by reports of renewed fighting in the same areas which have been declared under control.
In some districts, control has changed hands three or four times as the militants, using a tunnel network and exploiting the presence of civilians as cover, have launched night-time attacks and reversed military gains of the previous day.
The CTS special forces spearheading the advance into Mosul are part of a 100,000-strong force of army, security forces, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and mainly Shi'ite "Popular Mobilisation" forces aiming to drive Islamic State from the largest city under their control in Iraq or Syria.
The operation, which enters its fifth week on Monday, is the most complex in Iraq in over a decade and is complicated by the presence of the more than 1 million civilians still living under Islamic State control.
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