A US soldier died after being wounded by an improvised explosives device (IED) in northern Iraq, the spokesman of Operation Inherent Resolve anounced.
Peshmerga forces fought a tough battle against ISIS on Thursday on the Tel Skof frontline, Rudaw Correspondent Sangar Abdul-Rahman reported from the field. The militants attacked Kurdish forces with suicide car bombs, mortars, shells and IEDs, he said, adding there were no airstrikes on ISIS on that frontline on Thursday. Despite the tough battle, the Peshmerga succeeded in seizing several villages from ISIS, which put up a tough resistance because the frontline is very close to Mosul, our reporter said.
Iraqi anti-terrorism forces say they have liberated Bartella, an Assyrian town east of Mosul.
Peshmerga forces liberated six villages in the north and northeast of Mosul on Thursday. The villages of Khrap Delil, Pirhalan, Fadhliya, and Omar Qamchi on the Bashiqa front line are now under Peshmerga control, Rudaw correspondent Ranja Jamal reported from the frontline.
On the Nawaran front, the villages of Nawaran and Barima also are under Peshmerga control.
Meanwhile, the Peshmerga forces have besieged four other villages -- Kani Shirin, Kavrk, Filfel and Hasan Jalal, Rudaw's Nasr Ali reported from the field. The Peshmerga were forced to withdraw from Tiz Khirab after capturing it briefly.
Kurdish forces also have the district of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, surrounded on three sides.
Iraqi forces have liberated the villages of Khalidiya, Khabat, Salahya, Znawer, Makuk, Saidawa -- all of them east of Qayyara -- from ISIS, Rudaw correspondent Halkawt Aziz reported from the frontline. He reported there were still civilians living in the villages.
Peshmerga have destroyed an ISIS vehicle laden with explosives near Mosul Dam. No casualties reported. The explosion was caught on Rudaw's live video.
“We can’t afford mistakes in the pursuit of the terrorists who are already leaving Mosul for Raqqa,” said French President François Hollande, warning that ISIS militants are fleeing Mosul for Syria. He made his comments at an international conference on the stabilization of Mosul in Paris.
Civilians cheer as the Iraqi army enters Khalidiya village, east of Qayyara and south of Mosul, which was liberated earlier today.
The Peshmerga have taken four ISIS militants prisoner on the Nawaran front, Rudaw’s Nechirvan Hussein reported.
Peshmerga have destroyed an ISIS suicide vehicle that was approaching them amid intense clashes in Tiz Khirap, Rudaw’s Hiwa Hussamadin reported from the frontline.
Peshmerga have taken control of Tiz Khirap, south east of Bashiqa, Rudaw’s correspondent on the ground, Ranja Jamal, reported.
In the same area, the Peshmerga are tightening their siege around the village of Fadhliya.
Four Kurdish journalists have been wounded while reporting on Thursday’s Peshmerga offensive.
An ISIS suicide car bomb targeted a group of Peshmerga and a TV crew, wounding two journalists from the Kurdish Speda TV channel, and “a number of Peshmerga soldiers,” Aram Hussein of Speda TV told Rudaw English over the phone. He was with the crew in Qaim village on the Nawaran front.
He said he did not know the number of Peshmerga casualties but added that they were taken to hospitals in Shekhan and Duhok.
WAAR TV said two of its journalists were wounded near Batnay village, the TV channel said on its website where it shared video showing the wounded taken to a hospital in Duhok. An eyewitness told WAAR it was a roadside bomb that injured the journalists.
Yasr Abdulrahman, and his cameraman Hajar Mohamad from Speda channel, in hospital. Photo: Speda TV
Caught on tape, an ISIS mortar hits near Peshmerga forces 3km from Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. Rudaw’s reporter on the scene, Hiwa Hussamadin, assured us that no Peshmerga was injured.
Peshmerga forces are advancing towards Mosul on multiple fronts on Thursday. They have so far liberated Khirapa Delil, Bariman, and Newaran villages. They are engaged in fierce fighting with ISIS in Batnay village, which the Peshmerga have encircled.
Iraqi forces have liberated Khalidiya village east of Qayyara and south of Mosul as part of an offensive that started at 8:00 Thursday morning.
Rudaw’s correspondent, Halkawt Aziz, who is embedded with the Iraqi forces said that the residents of Khalidiya village are still in the village.
There are no reports of casualties yet.
Iraqi forces are facing fierce resistance from ISIS as they battle for Bartella, 20km east of Mosul. AP reported that ISIS sent out at least four suicide car bombs against the Iraqi forces, which includes the elite counterterrorism forces. At least one of the car bombs was destroyed by tank fire.
Casualty figures have not been reported yet.
Iraqi officials believe that the town of Bartella, traditionally Christian, is empty of civilians. But they are approaching slowly because, “Our intelligence tells us the district is full of IED’s” said Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi, AP reported.
Peshmerga have taken control of the village of Khirapa Dalil and the Shiite Shrine Imam Raza, southeast of Bashiqa, Rudaw’s correspondent on the ground, Ranja Jamal, reported.
Peshmerga on the Tel Skuf front have overheard ISIS radio chatter, Rudaw’s correspondent embedded with the forces, Ayub Nasri, reported. The militants asked over the radio for back up. The reply was that there are no other troops to send to support them. They were told to just resist.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi spoke via videoconference with an international meeting hosted in Paris to discuss the future of Mosul. “We will not allow violations of human rights,” he said. “So we have set up investigation committees. We have brought some people to trial, some of them for violations of human rights during the course of battles.”
“We just blew up an ISIS car bomb,” General Salar Taimur, Peshmerga commander on the Nawaran front told Rudaw, speaking out of breath.
Hemin Hawrami, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) foreign relations office tweeted that Peshmerga had destroyed two ISIS suicide bombs.
Taimur added that 90% of today’s offensive has been completed.
Aras Argoshy, a Peshmerga commander on the Bashiqa frontline, told Rudaw English, “Two kilometres away from Bashiqa, we are at Tel Khirap, almost within reach of the town. We are making progress. Our enemies are being defeated. We have advanced 6 kilometres since early morning.”
“We need more support from coalition airstrikes,” he said. “Only a sniper is left in Tel Khirap. We are trying to shoot him down, which will make the progress a lot easier.”
Correction: Batnay has not come under Peshmerga control yet. Rudaw’s correspondent on the Tel Skuf front, Nechirvan Hussein, has reported that the village is encircled by Peshmerga forces but not liberated.
Peshmerga are advancing on three fronts north of Mosul in a major offensive today. They are pushing on ISIS from Badush to the west, Tel Skuf to the north, and Bashiqa to the east. They have liberated three villages so far: Batnay, Nawaran, Barima.
Batnay came under control of Peshmerga approaching from the Mosul Dam frontline. Nawaran and Barima were approached from the Nawaran frontline.
Watch: Peshmerga raise the Kurdish flag over Nawaran village.
Batnay village, 8km south of Tel Skuf, has been liberated by Peshmerga forces.
Iraqi special forces are advancing on Bartella backed by coalition airstrikes, Iraqi Maj-Gen Maan al-Saadi told Associated Press. Bartella is located 20 kilometres east of Mosul.
Peshmerga have taken control of Barima village, north of Mosul.
Peshmerga have discovered an 800 metre-long tunnel between Fadhliya and Khorsabad villages, wide enough for vehicles to use.
Peshmerga have encircled Kani Shirin village, north of Mosul.
Peshmerga are advancing on Fadhliya and Khorsabad villages, west of Bashiqa, east of Mosul.
Footage from Nawaran, which the Peshmerga entered this morning:
ISIS has deployed a special force of 1,200 fighters to the right bank in Mosul to defend that area of the city, Rudaw has learned.
Peshmerga have entered Nawaran village where ISIS did not put up any resistance, Rudaw’s correspondent Ayub Nasri reported.
There have been 25 airstrikes carried out against ISIS positions in Tel Skuf over night.
Peshmerga are undertaking a “major advance” on three fronts to the north and northeast of Mosul with the aim of clearing a number of villages and restricting ISIS’ movements, the General Command of Peshmerga Forces of Kurdistan Region announced this morning.
First video of the Peshmerga north of Mosul on the Tel Skuf frontline. Follow here for live footage.
First images of the Peshmerga at dawn on the frontlines near Tel Skuf.
Peshmerga are shelling ISIS positions in villages on the frontlines in Tel Skuf, 30 kilometres north of Mosul, Rudaw's reporter on the ground Sangar Abdulrahman reported.
Reports from inside Mosul are that ISIS is trying to cut off all lines of communication between residents and the outside world. On Wednesday, ISIS issued an order for people to turn over all SIM cards and modems to the militants’ “police” and “government” within 24 hours, and all antennas must be removed from rooftops, the blogging site Mosul Eye reported.