A Lethal Mistake Leads to a Harrowing Ambush in Iraq's Mosul

The JOC issued a statement confirming that the Iraqi air force had carried out two strikes in the jihadist-held Al-Qaim area on Wednesday, saying they targeted hideouts used by IS members.

The fighting came after the army's campaign commander for the Mosul operation said soldiers surged into the city and took over the Al-Salam hospital, less than a mile (1.5 km) from the Tigris River which divides eastern and western Mosul.

As Iraqi forces retreated, US -led warplanes hit both the hospital and the abandoned Iraqi army vehicles.

The ISIL-linked Aamaq news agency released a almost two-minute-long video late Wednesday purporting to show the aftermath of the air strike.

It said Iraqi security forces launched an operation Tuesday to try to seize control of the Al Salem hospital complex in East Mosul, which it says ISIS was using "as a base of operations and command and control headquarters".

The soldiers seized Salam hospital, less than 1.5km from the Tigris river running through central Mosul, on Tuesday but pulled back the next day after they were hit by six suicide auto bombs and "heavy enemy fire", according to the US-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces. Military hospital cots sat in a driveway of a nearby abandoned building flanked by IV stands and oxygen tanks.

"They started to appear and attack from every corner, every street and every house near the hospital", said the officer, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Hakim Saranbii told The Associated Press.

"What we see here is the enemy reacting to a new axis of advance", said coalition spokesman U.S. Army, Col. John Dorrian, explaining that the new push is putting increased pressure on IS.

Iraqi forces and allies numbering 100,000 men have been battling for seven weeks to crush Daesh fighters in Mosul, now estimated to be around 3,000 men strong. Iraqi Defense Ministry officials in Baghdad did not immediately comment. Last week, the United Nations said in a report that almost 2,000 members of the Iraqi forces were killed last month, but after coming under fire from the media arm of the Iraqi military, it announced it would discontinue publishing casualty figures for Iraq's security forces.

The battle for the Mosul is the biggest operation Iraq has carried out since the 2003 US -led invasion, and comes just two years after Iraqi forces crumbled in the face of the lightning IS advance in the summer of 2014.

Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the USA military in Iraq, echoed suggestions that the ongoing military campaign is reducing the numbers and capabilities of the Islamic State group.

Elsewhere, a wave of bombing attacks hit commercial areas in and around the capital, Baghdad, on Wednesday, killing at least 17 civilians and wounding 57, police and health officials said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore all the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which has staged dozens of similar attacks in the past.



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