Iraqi forces search for suicide car bombs, cut supply routes to Mosul

Iraqi troops fighting ISIS militants regroup and search for suicide car bombs while other forces cut supply routes to Mosul

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Iraqi troops fighting ISIS militants in the eastern outskirts of Mosul regrouped on Monday in neighborhoods they have recently retaken from the extremist group and conducted house-to-house searches looking for vehicles primed for use in suicide bombings, according to a top Iraqi commander.

Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi military’s special forces told The Associated Press his men also foiled two attempted suicide car bombings early Monday, firing from a US-made tank on the approaching vehicles, which exploded before reaching their intended targets.

He said a civilian woman was wounded in the blasts.

Suicide car bombings and sniper fire underline the difficulty of the campaign to retake Mosul - even in eastern parts where Iraq’s most combat-seasoned troops are operating.

Iraqi Shiite militias were massing troops on Monday to cut remaining supply routes to Mosul, ISIS’ last major stronghold in Iraq, closing in on the road that links the Syrian and Iraqi parts of its self-declared “Caliphate”.

Six weeks into the US-backed offensive on Mosul, ISIS is fighting in the area of Tal Afar, 60 km (40 miles) to the west, against a coalition of Iranian-backed groups known as Popular Mobilization.

Cutting the western road to Tal Afar would seal off Mosul as the city is already surrounded to the north, south and east by Iraqi government and Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

(With AP and Reuters)

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