Iraqi unit with US, Australian advisers hit with gas by ISIS

Jon Howard
April 20, 2017

Iraqi forces are fighting to recapture west Mosul from IS after retaking the eastern side earlier this year, while soldiers and pro-government paramilitaries are also operating west of the city as part of the operation.

A police spokesman said the troops were closing in on the mosque without indicating the remaining distance.

Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, the commander of coalition ground forces in Iraq, says Iraqi forces were treated after a strike in western Mosul.

Their progress has been slow as about 400,000 civilians, or a quarter of Mosul's pre-war population, are trapped in the Old City, according to the United Nations.

If there is a siege and hundreds of thousands of people don't have water and don't have food, they will be at enormous risk.

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Good Friday is observed by Christians as the day which the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated in the church. In Gulberg Saint Merry Church a special prayer ceremony was arranged in which children performed religious singing.

Since the fight began on October 17, 2016, more than 327,000 civilians have left the city. "Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits", Grande said.

Iraqi government forces have taken back most of it in a USA -backed offensive launched in October, including the half that lies east of the Tigris river.

To help defend against future attacks, two Army officers stated that gas masks have been passed around, as the attack Sunday marked the second chemical weapons attack in a matter of days.

"The Daesh terrorist gangs tried to block the advance of our forces by using shells filled with toxic chemical material, but the effect was limited", Iraq's Joint Operations Command said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

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