Home / Top Story / Iraqi army begins battle to force ISIS out of Mosul

Iraqi army begins battle to force ISIS out of Mosul

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Sunday, October 16, 2016, 7:48 PM

The Iraqi army began trying to retake Mosul from ISIS on Sunday, hours after dropping tens of thousands of leaflets warning civilians to stay calm amid the bloody battle.

Brett McGurk, President Obama’s special envoy in the fight against ISIS, tweeted that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had initiated the operation to reclaim the largest city controlled by the militants.

“Godspeed to the heroic Iraqi forces,” he wrote.

Iraqi forces gesture as they gather at the Qayyarah military base in preparation of an assault to retake Mosul.

Iraqi forces gesture as they gather at the Qayyarah military base in preparation of an assault to retake Mosul.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

The leaflets alerting residents to the looming battle declared that advancing army units and air strikes “will not target civilians” and that they should avoid known locations frequented by Islamic State militants.

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“Keep calm and tell your children that it is only a game or thunder before the rain,” a leaflet said. “Women should not scream or shout, to preserve the children’s spirit.”

As many as 4,500 ISIS fighters are entrenched in the city and are expected to fight tooth and nail. Before ISIS overtook Mosul in 2014, it had a population of 2 million.

The ISIS fighters have likely built an extensive tunnel network beneath the city, The New York Times reported.

Iraqi policemen clean a weapon at the Qayyarah military base, south of Mosul, on Sunday as they prepare for an offensive to retake the city.

Iraqi policemen clean a weapon at the Qayyarah military base, south of Mosul, on Sunday as they prepare for an offensive to retake the city.

(AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations said last week the battle could lead to the world’s biggest and most complex humanitarian effort. Up to 1 million people could be left homeless and civilians could be used as human shields or gassed.

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Authorities were concerned an exodus from the city would result in more bloodshed. The leaflets also warned the population “to stay at home and not to believe rumors” spread by ISIS intended to cause panic.

Before ISIS seized the city in 2014, Mosul had a population of around 2 million, making it the largest ever controlled by the extremists.

With News Wire Services 

Tags:
iraq
isis
terrorism

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