Iraqi special forces take village, position on Mosul’s edge

Published 9:56 am Monday, October 31, 2016

BAZWAYA, Iraq — Iraqi special forces advanced on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul from the east on Monday, taking heavy fire but seizing the last IS-held village before the city’s eastern limits and clearing a path that was followed by army units.

Armored vehicles, including Abrams tanks, drew mortar and small arms fire as they moved on the village of Bazwaya in the dawn assault, while allied artillery and airstrikes hit IS positions. By evening the fighting had stopped and the units took up positions less than a mile from Mosul’s eastern border and some five miles from the city center.

Three suicide car bombers tried to stop the advance during the day before the army took control of the town but the troops destroyed them, said Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil. The army said another unit, its ninth division, had moved up toward Mosul and was now approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles) from its eastern outskirts, the neighborhood of Gogjali.

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At one point, a Humvee packed with explosives raced ahead in an attempt to ram the forces, but Iraqi troops opened fire on it, setting off the charge and blowing up the vehicle. Plumes of smoke rose in the air from IS positions hit by artillery, and airstrikes the army said came from its U.S. allies.