IS launches chlorine gas attacks in western Mosul

Thomas Friedman's Perverse Love Affair With ISIS

Some two dozen corpses lay on the floor in bags, wrapped in blankets, some so badly mutilated they arrived in sacks. The eastern half of the city is now completely under the control of Iraqi security forces, Rasool said.

More than 300 square miles have been cleared since west Mosul operations began mid-February, he said.

Isis overran the city in the summer of 2014 in a lightning advance which routed Iraqi forces.

Seven alleys in the neighborhood were recaptured, al-Alusi said, adding that his forces killed 15 armed militants and arrested another three; they also destroyed a booby-trapped vehicle through which a suicide bomber tried to target Iraqi troops.

"The enemy has intensified their exploitation of civilians by moving them in large numbers into harm's way", he said.

The militants, who assumed control of hospitals across Mosul and appointed an "Emir of Health", did not allow the morgue workers to conduct autopsies on their victims.

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The Iraqi Directorate of Military Intelligence announced on Friday that a number of key Isis figures had been killed alongside al-Badrani in al-Rifai district.

Death certificates were not issued for foreign fighters because their only identity was a nom de guerre, he said.

Analysts say Iraqi forces deployed in the west have less experience in urban battle and are trying to keep casualties down by relying on heavy firepower.

REUTERS/Zohra BensemraSmoke is seen rising after a rocket landed in the middle of the Iraqi rapid response forces' position during a battle against Islamic State militants in the south of Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 19, 2017.

Army First Lieutenant Nayef al-Zubaidi, for his part, told Anadolu Agency that Iraqi security forces had received numerous appeals from civilian residents of IS-held areas to refrain from targeting homes being used by the terrorist group to carry out attacks.

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