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IS attack breaches militiamen's defenses in northern Iraq

IS attack breaches militiamen's defenses in northern Iraq

His comments come more than a month after the country started a campaign to drive Islamic State from its last key stronghold of Mosul.

Iraqi troops waging a six-week-old offensive against the militants controlling Mosul have advanced into eastern city districts, while other forces have sealed Mosul's southern and northern approaches and 10 days ago blocked the road west.

On Sunday two militants tried to attack army barracks in the western province of Anbar.

"Over four hours, they launched more than 200 mortars", Hatem said.

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - The Iraqi government on Sunday sent truckloads of food, heating oil and drinking water to residents of areas retaken from the Islamic State group in and around the northern city of Mosul as more civilians streamed out of the city amid intense fighting between the militants and troops. "We withdraw to avoid civilian losses and then regain control".

"They are just doing this to create another obstacle to our advances, they don't want to hold the territory", said Sgt. Maj.

The pipeline, one of three major water conduits serving civilians in eastern Mosul, is located in parts of the city still held by IS, making it impossible to fix quickly, said the statement. "We're in despair", said a resident in Mosul's southeastern district of Intisar, where the army's Ninth Armoured Division has struggled to make gains.

In mid-October, government forces, backed by a USA -led air coalition and Kurdish fighters, started a long-awaited offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State. Mud caused by recent rains was hindering movement and there was less artillery fire than in recent days.

"For the past two days there was nearly no fighting", said a man who gave his name as Suleiman, who had fled Mosul.

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"The operation is continuing on all fronts - there's no halt on any front", spokesman Sabah al-Numani told Iraqi television.

Carter did not say how the recapture could be completed before January 20 in the face of resistance from Islamic State. A government adviser estimated the jihadist group now had about 4,000 fighters in Mosul.

In a press release published Sunday, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, or UNAMI, said it "acknowledges that the military figures were largely unverified".

The UN reported this week that almost 2,000 members of the Iraqi forces were killed last month, but after coming under fire from the media arm of the Iraqi military, it announced Saturday it would discontinue publishing casualty figures for Iraq's security forces.

The elite CTS units and the armored division have captured around half of the eastern side of Mosul, which is split down the center by the Tigris river. Such conditions normally reduce to a minimum air activity by the Iraqi military or the allied USA -led coalition.

Ambulances and armored vehicles carrying wounded soldiers came screaming past after an IS suicide auto bomb struck a nearby army position.

Commanders also hope to stretch Islamic State defenses more thinly, by opening new fronts inside the city.

A displaced Iraqi boy, who fled the violence in the northern city of Mosul, is seen at the Hasan Sham refugee camp on Saturday.

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