An Islamic State commander tried to lure Iraqi Security Forces into a mass suicide bombing attack with a phony surrender offer in the last hours of the battle for Mosul, Operation Inherent Resolve commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters Tuesday.
An Iraqi Security Forces commander apparently told the ISIS commander that surrender could occur, but only if the fighters exited their pocket “in small elements.” ISIS declined the request and the U.S. subsequently saw “a wave of suicide attacks” in the area. “It was a desperate ploy,” Townsend said.
The general highlighted the Iraqi Security Force’s policy of requiring “unconditional surrender” from any ISIS forces going forward. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in Mosul Monday after a grueling eight month military campaign. Townsend explained how ISIS resistance pockets remain throughout the city, but could not give an accurate estimate of the force size.
The pockets of ISIS fighters and total clearing of the city is expected to take weeks. ISIS reportedly left large areas of the city rigged with explosives that will require special efforts to clear. “Mosul is a significant accomplishment but this fight is far from over,” Townsend said.
The general pointed out existing ISIS pockets in different Iraqi cities and the ongoing initial push against ISIS’s capital of Raqqa in Syria by the U.S. supported Syrian Democratic Forces. Early skirmishes indicate that ISIS is using the same tactics it used in Mosul, including waves of suicide bombers, civilian human shields and complete disregard for human life.
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