Forty days into the biggest ground offensive in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, about a quarter of the city has been taken by U.S.-backed government units on the eastern side. The western part could prove far more dangerous, Major General Najm al-Jubbouri, one of the army’s top commanders, told Reuters.
Residents still wearing the long beards demanded by Islamic State welcomed Iraqi troops into a neighborhood of east Mosul with coffee, cheers and kisses after the fighters left.
“Today we have been released from prison,” said a resident, Ahmed Zeidan Mahmoud. “We were imprisoned. No water, no electricity, there was nothing.”
On the wall of a kindergarten, the faces of two girls were blotted out by militants who consider it un Islamic to depict people. Nearby, a dog was eating the corpse of a militant.
The slow progress was overshadowed by the sectarian political quarrel that erupted in Baghdad on Saturday when Shi’ite lawmakers forced a law through parliament legalizing the mainly Iranian-backed paramilitary units known as Popular Mobilisation forces.
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