1000s join push in Mosul area, say Iraq Shi'ite militias

2016-10-30 13:53
Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces advance toward ISIS positions as fighting to retake Mosul. (Khalid Mohammed, AP)

Iraq's elite counter-terrorism forces advance toward ISIS positions as fighting to retake Mosul. (Khalid Mohammed, AP)

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Baghdad - Spokespersons for Iraq's state-sanctioned Shi’ite militias say that some 5 000 fighters have joined their push to encircle the county's second largest city of Mosul and cut off Islamic State fighters there.

Karim al-Nuri of the umbrella group for the militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Units, and Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesperson for unit member the Hezbollah Brigades, said on Sunday that a total of some 15 000 Shi’ite fighters were participating in the battle.

READ: Iraq forces launch operation to cut off Mosul

The Iraqi military confirmed the figures, which, including army units, militarised police, and special forces bring the total number of anti-IS fighters in the offensive to over 40 000.

The US military estimates IS has 3 000 to 5 000 fighters inside Mosul and another 1 500 – 2 500 in the city's outer defensive belt. The total number includes around 1 000 foreign fighters.

Read more on:    iraq  |  security

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