Two female suicide bombers, hiding among a group of fleeing civilians, targeted Iraqi troops in Mosul yesterday morning, killing one soldier and wounding several others, an Iraqi officer said.
It was the latest counter-attack by the Islamic State (IS) group as Iraqi forces close in on the last pocket of militant-held territory in the Old City neighborhood — the scene of the last stand by IS militants.
The territory held by the militants in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, is rapidly shrinking, with IS militants now controlling a little more than 1km2 in all.
Using women as suicide bombers was apparently the latest tactic by the militants, Iraqi Army Sergeant Ali Abdullah Hussein told reporters.
“They appeared from the basement [of a building] and they blew themselves up,” Hussein said as he returned from the scene, his troops carrying the body of their slain comrade wrapped in a blanket.
The attack happened in the area of the destroyed al-Nuri Mosque, which was the focus of the Iraqi forces’ push last week.
Over the past three days, Hussein said at least four such attacks have targeted Iraqi forces as hundreds of Mosul’s civilians are fleeing the battles in the Old City’s congested streets.
After the explosion yesterday, another group of civilians appeared on the main road, prompting the Iraqi soldiers to immediately draw their weapons.
They then yelled to the group of mostly women and children to back away and take another route out.
The IS overran Mosul in a matter of days more than three years ago. The US-backed operation to retake the city was launched in October last year and has lasted nearly nine months, although Iraqi political and military officials had vowed that victory would be declared by the end of last year.
Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake the Old City in the middle of last month and on Thursday last week, they retook the area around the al-Nuri Mosque, which the militants had blown up just a few days earlier.
The 12th-century mosque is hugely symbolic — it was from a pulpit of this mosque that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the IS caliphate in July 2014.
After Iraqi forces retook the mosque, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the IS’ so-called caliphate.
LIFE GOES ON: After a strict lockdown that left millions on the brink of starvation, Indians embrace work to avoid starvation and get ready for several major festivals India is on course to top the world in COVID-19 cases, but from Maharashtra’s whirring factories to Kolkata’s thronging markets, people are back at work — and eager to forget the pandemic for festival season. After a strict lockdown in March that left millions on the brink of starvation, the government and people of the world’s second-most populous country decided life must go on. Sonali Dange, for instance, has two young daughters and an elderly mother-in-law to look after. She was hospitalized this year in excruciating pain after catching the novel coronavirus. However, after the lockdown exhausted the family’s savings, the 29-year-old had
A COVID-19 outbreak among hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian fishers flown to New Zealand to bolster its struggling deep-sea fishing industry has prompted that country’s largest daily increase in infections in months, authorities said yesterday. More than 230 fishers were flown in from Moscow last week, with 18 of the crew members then testing positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine, New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said. The Pacific nation has almost eliminated local transmission of the virus, but regularly records small numbers of new cases in returned travelers. The fishing cluster pushed the daily tally of new infections to 25,
From monitoring vital signs to filtering filthy air and even translating speech into other languages, the COVID-19-fueled boom in mask-wearing has spawned an unusual range of high-tech face coverings. As masks become the norm worldwide, tech companies and researchers are rolling out weird and wonderful models to guard against infection and cash in on a growing trend. One of the wackiest comes from Japan, where start-up Donut Robotics has created a face covering that helps users adhere to social distancing and also acts as a translator. The “C-Face” mask works by transmitting a wearer’s speech to a smartphone via an app, and allows
JAPAN Deer-edible bags invented The deer that roam Nara no longer face discomfort — or far worse — after local firms developed a safe alternative to the plastic packaging discarded by tourists that often ended up in the animals’ stomachs. Last year, several of the 1,300 deer that wander around the ancient capital’s central park were found dead after swallowing plastic bags and food wrappers. Firms collaborated to develop bags that pass safely through the animals’ complex digestive system. The bags are made with recycled pulp from milk cartons and rice bran, one of the main ingredients of the shika senbei savory