MOSUL, Iraq — Since pushing into Mosul a week ago, Iraqi commanders say their forces have been shaken by some of the most complex fighting they have ever encountered in battles against the Islamic State.
It is a bitter fight: street to street, house to house, with the presence of civilians slowing the advancing forces. Car bombs — the militants’ main weapon — scream out of garages and straight into advancing military convoys.
“If there were no civilians, we’d just burn it all,” said Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridhi, a counterterrorism commander. He was forced to temporarily pause operations in his sector Monday because too many families were clogging the street. “I couldn’t bomb with artillery or tanks, or heavy weapons. I said, ‘We can’t do anything.’ ”
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