Irakischer Offizier: „Kampf gegen IS wird zum Albtraum“

„A week after his tank division punched through Islamic State defenses on the southeast edge of Mosul, an Iraqi army colonel says the fight to drive the militants out of their urban stronghold is turning into a nightmare. Against a well-drilled, mobile and brutally effective enemy, exploiting the cover of built-up neighborhoods and the city’s civilian population, his tanks were useless, he said, and his men untrained for the urban warfare they face. His Ninth Armoured Division and elite counter terrorism units fighting nearby seized six of some 60 neighborhoods last week, the first gains inside Mosul since the Oct. 17 start of a campaign to crush Islamic State in its Iraqi fortress. Even that small foothold is proving hard to maintain, however, with waves of counter attacks by jihadist units including snipers and suicide bombers who use a network of tunnels stretching for miles (km) under the city. They appear able to strike at will, often at night, denying the troops rest and rattling frayed nerves. (…)

He said it was impossible to differentiate between civilians and fighters who melt in amongst them. Islamic State has forced its dress code on the population during the two years it has controlled the city. Men are required to have long beards, something the militants are still policing. ‚Our soldiers can’t recognize them until it’s too late, when the attacker either detonates his explosive vest or throws a grenade,‘ the colonel said, adding that he lost two T-72 tanks and an armored vehicle in a single day’s fighting on Tuesday. ‚It’s becoming a nightmare and it’s nerve-wracking for the soldiers,‘ he said.“ (Dominic Evans/Ahmed Rasheed: „‚Crashing waves‘ of jihadists fray soldiers‘ nerves in Mosul battle“)

 

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