Iraqi forces capture 16 ISIS militants south Mosul


Islamic State fighters launched a chemical attack against advancing Iraqi security forces in the besieged city of Mosul, injuring a number of local troops amid heavy fighting, the senior US ground commander confirmed Wednesday.

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. Iraqi Federal Police forces "are engaged in hard, house-to-house clashes with Daesh fighters inside the Old City", a media officer from these units told Reuters.

Martin declined to say whether USA advisers were with Iraqi forces at the time of the attack or whether they wore equipment needed to protect against chemical weapons.

"Civilians in Mosul face incredible, terrifying risks", said the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande.

More than 327,000 have fled fighting since the offensive operation started on October 17, with strong air and ground support from a US -led coalition.

Ethnically diverse Mosul, which Daesh overran in mid-2014, was once considered Iraq's second largest city in terms of population.

The militants are now surrounded in the northwestern quarter including the historic Old City, using booby traps, sniper and mortar fire against the assailants.

After the attacker failed to reach his intended target, he detonated his car-bomb in a residential area, the officer said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said IS militants previously have used sulfur mustard gas.

ISIS has launched 52 chemical strikes against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, the London-based IHS conflict monitor said in a report published late past year.