ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi security forces on Sunday announced the Islamic State (IS) had used chemical weapons against troops in Mosul, the insurgent’s stronghold in northern Iraq.
In a statement on Sunday, War Media Cell confirmed the allegations and stressed government forces would continue to advance in the city.
The statement mentioned the chemical attack caused minor injuries, without giving further details regarding the incident.
The chemical attack took place in the neighborhoods of Urouba and Bab Jadid, federal police told Reuters.
IS occupied Mosul in June 2014, but the Iraqi forces have liberated most of the city and continue to push the extremists out.
In March, the UN stated 12 people had been treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons in Mosul.
However, a few days later, the Iraqi Ambassador to the UN Mohammed Ali al-Hakim rejected the claims stating there had been no evidence to support the statement.
The advance of Iraqi forces in west Mosul has slowed down over the past month, namely in the Old Mosul City area, where military vehicles and tanks are unable to operate efficiently due to narrow streets and the densely concentrated population in the urban area.
On Monday, IS once again controlled Kornish Street, a strategic place in the Old Mosul City, following a counterattack by the militant group, said a security source.
The presence of civilians in IS-held territories is also one of the challenges affecting the military operation.
The number of civilian casualties has caused great concern for international human rights organizations as IS continues to use human shields in west Mosul.
The Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi and Iraqi military commanders have repeatedly emphasized that freeing civilians is the top priority of the troops.
Edited by Gabrielle Renaud and Karzan Sulaivany