Erbil- Iraqi forces have repelled a major counter-attack by ISIS militants in a district south of Mosul, their remaining enclave in the city, sources said, despite claims made by federal police that security forces carried out a tactical plan to lure dozens of the organization’s fighters outside the Old City.
Dozens of ISIS militants were killed in the operation to push back the terrorists, many of whom wore suicide vests, a police commander told Reuters.
Residents said the militants seized a number of blocks in the Danadan district of the northern Iraqi city before being driven out in fierce clashes.
“Terrorists came from the Old City and attacked our forces using mortars and sniper shots. They managed to temporarily seize some buildings but we forced them to retreat after shelling their positions,” said a federal police officer.
A Reuters visuals team heading to Mosul from the northern side reported intense artillery fire on Wednesday morning.
Another federal police officer said an operation was still underway to chase some ISIS militants who might still be hiding in some buildings.
In an online statement, ISIS said it killed 40 of the federal police forces deployed in west Mosul and destroyed eight military vehicles.
But Raed Shaker Jawdat, head of the Iraqi federal police, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that his forces have launched a “tactical operation to lure dozens of terrorists from around al-Nouri mosque in Old Mosul to Danadan.”
The plan was successful, he said. More than 40 militants were ambushed.
“After a three-hour gunbattle, all the besieged fighters were killed,” he added.