Monday, 17 December, 2018

IS Shoots Down Iraqi Helicopter over Mosul

Melinda Barton | 10 April, 2017, 01:24

ERBIL, Iraq Two Iraqi army pilots were killed on Thursday when their helicopter was shot down over the city of Mosul by Islamic State, according to a military statement.

A number of Islamic State commanders were killed in an air strike on a position in Hay al-Tanak, a stronghold of the group, they said.

USA and Iraqi officials are gearing up for tiny battles after the city is redeemed and expect the militant group to go underground.

The helicopter was providing support to federal police forces battling Islamic State militants in western Mosul, the statement said.

Air strikes on the city by the Iraqi air force resumed on Tuesday as the sky cleared after several days of bad weather, the Iraqi military said.

The attacks targeted a police checkpoint and the house of a police colonel, who was killed with four members of his family, officers said.

It is the first aircraft downed by Islamic State over Mosul since the start of the US -backed offensive on the northern Iraqi city, in October.

The United Nations has said more than 300 civilians have been killed in the fighting during the west Mosul offensive, which began in February.

Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias drove the militants away from Tikrit two years ago.

Isis' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the formation of the group's self-declared "caliphate" from Mosul's historic al-Nuri mosque in 2014.

The recapture of the neighborhood is part of slow advance that included the adjacent neighborhoods of Aabar and Matahin, as the troops are pushing toward the western edge of Mosul's densely populated old city center, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to still be trapped under IS rule.

The Iraqi air force is conducting strikes against ISIS in Mosul in coordination with the USA -led coalition air forces.