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Battle for Mosul: ‘ISIS launching spoiler attacks’

The White House envoy to the US-led coalition battling ISIS insisted the militants’ strategy was failing

Published: Updated:

The US-led coalition is insisting the latest in a series of “spoiler attacks” by ISIS are not forcing it to divert resources from the fight to retake Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul.

The White House envoy to the US-led coalition battling ISIS insisted the militants’ strategy was failing, saying there had been “no diversion whatsoever” of forces taking part in the Mosul operation, which is expected to take weeks, if not months.

“ISIS is trying to launch spoiler attacks,” Brett McGurk told reporters at a Baghdad news conference. “This was expected, it’s planned for, and we can expect more of it.”

The complex assault on Rutba, located hundreds of miles (kilometers) south of Mosul, is just the latest ISIS attempt to try to divert Iraqi military resources from the fight for the militants’ last major urban bastion in Iraq.

Last week the group launched a similar attack in and around the northern city of Kirkuk, some 100 miles (170 kilometers) southeast of Mosul, igniting gun battles that lasted two days and killed at least 80 people.