U.S. troops wounded in Iraqi offensive against Mosul

In the fight against the Islamic State group in Mosul, the United States has adjusted its rules of engagement as American and other global troops are now closer to front-line fighting than before. The US-led coalition has played a key role in supporting Iraqi forces with air strikes and advisers on the ground, and on Thursday US forces in armoured vehicles were moving on the airport with Iraqi forces.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander overseeing the USA -led anti-ISIS coalition, said Monday that US forces in Iraq will likely "be in this fight for a while".

-Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad.

Iraqi forces on Thursday fought heavy clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants as part of a new assault on Thursday morning to retake of Mosul worldwide airport and a nearby military base from the hands of the extremist militants, the Iraqi military said.

Sami al-Aridhi, a lieutenant general in the Counter-Terrorism Service, said his men had retaken a military base and a village southwest of Mosul and entered a residential neighbourhood of the city.

Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State (Isis) in West Mosul have reportedly offered the local jihadists a deal if they kill foreign militants. All officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

The advances come days after Iraqi forces officially launched the operation to push IS out of Mosul's western half.

"There will be a period going forward, especially in the Ministry of the Interior, where we will have help from the American side and coalition forces", said Saad Mann, a spokesman for the ministry.

"There are many injured still inside", he said.

The UN said in late January that nearly half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians. The battle for western Mosul, the extremist group's last major urban bastion in Iraq, is expected to be most daunting yet. The battle will be complicated further by the presence of an estimated 700,000 civilians trapped inside the city.

The advance was part of the operation to retake western Mosul from the Daesh.

Inside eastern Mosul, in the weeks leading up to that half of the city being declared "fully liberated", coalition troops became a more common sight on the city streets alongside Iraq's elite military units.

Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014, along with large swaths of northern and western Iraq. But the Sunni militant group has since consistently lost territory as the USA -led coalition proved to be critical for Iraqi government efforts to claw back territory lost to the extremists. "And they'll give it to us, and we'll immediately get the aircraft in the area", Kim said.

  • Leroy Wright