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Save the children warns of children's safety during Mosul operations

Save the children warns of children's safety during Mosul operations

Plumes of smoke were seen rising into the sky early Sunday morning as US -led coalition jets struck militant positions southwest of Mosul and militarized Iraqi police fired artillery toward the city.

Iraqi forces captured several villages on Sunday, as they advanced from the south toward the western side of Mosul that is still under control of Islamic State, Iraqi military said.

Iraq has launched an operation to regain control of western Mosul from ISIS militants, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday.

The Islamic State militants are essentially under siege in western Mosul, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians, after USA -backed forces surrounding the city forced them from the east in the first phase of an offensive that concluded last month.

The operation involves Iraqi army troops and militarized police, backed by air power provided by a US -led coalition.

The fight to liberate west Mosul is expected to be particularly hard, given the size of the city and the length of time ISIS has had to dig in.

As well as elite American troops, Iraqi federal police and elite Interior Ministry units have made rapid progress towards western Mosul in a sweep upwards, to create a pincer movement with other coalition troops.

The UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said in a statement: "We are racing against the clock to prepare emergency sites south of Mosul to receive displaced families".

"Go forward with my blessing, heroic forces of Iraq", he said on state television.

The offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS's brutal rule began in October with a push by the Iraqi army, counter-terrorism forces, federal police and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Mitsubishi names new SUV the Eclipse Cross | New Release
The Cross because the Eclipse Cross is a cross between the Mitsubishi Outlander SUV and the Mitsubishi Eclipse sports vehicle . Once released to the market, the Eclipse Cross will sit in between the Outlander Sport crossover and the larger Outlander SUV.

We're going to continue to go after them until we destroy them and any kind of belief in the inevitability of their message.

"And so about 100,000 buildings, with an enemy that's had over two-and-a-half years to prepare this defense", Major General Joseph Martin, commanding general of the US-led coalition forces in Iraq previously said.

Andrew Exum, a senior Pentagon Middle East policy official during the final years of the Obama administration, said it was more likely that conventional United States forces would aid an impending Kurdish-led assault on the city than that the U.S. would restructure its approach to the war wholesale.

IS has put up stiff resistance in defending Mosul, the city where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Consolidating the gains lays the groundwork for the Iraqi troops' next stage of the operation: entering Mosul's more urban neighbourhoods with old and narrow streets, a densely built-up area with a population of up to 750,000 people.

Forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi, a parliamentary umbrella dominated by Shiite militias backed by Iran, are active in the area mentioned in the IS statement.

Aid organisations had feared an exodus of unprecedented proportions before the start of the Mosul operation, but half a million residents stayed home in east Mosul.

The groups' propaganda machine also claimed that one of the suicide bombers used in Monday's fight was British Abu Zakariya Al-Britani, who was picture grinning inside a auto bomb in an image released on the group's social media.

Residents of west Mosul have reported very hard living conditions and warned that they were already low on food, with weeks of fighting expected to lie ahead.


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