Iraq takes part of Intisar district; Islamic State deploys armed children in Mosul

MOSUL, Iraq, Iraqi special forces have gained control of large parts of the Intisar district while the Islamic State has deployed armed children in Mosul to give the appearance of control, local officials said.

Officials said Iraq has gained control of parts of the Intisar district while IS has deployed armed children in Mosul to give the appearance of control. In this image, Iraqi army fighters looks as smoke rise in the background from burning oil fields damaged during fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State fighters in Qayara, south of Mosul, Iraq, on Nov. 01, 2016. Photo by Murat Bay/UPI | License Photo

Iraqi special counter-sniper teams on Tuesday were working to locate militant snipers in the Iraqi stronghold. Though Iraqi forces did not encounter a lot of Islamic State resistance when they began advancing on Intisar, there were a series of deadly sniper attacks targeting army convoys that slowed down the Iraqi effort.

Residents told Rudaw that there are shortages of vital food and basic goods.

“What are we supposed to eat, there are no stores and no food to buy,” a Intisar resident said.

Intisar is one of many of the areas within or near Mosul that have been freed from Islamic State control since Iraqi forces, with the assistance of the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shiite militias and a U.S.-led international coalition, began a ground offensive to capture Mosul on Oct. 17.

In Mosul, Iraqi News reports, citing the Arabic Alsumaria News television network, that the Islamic State has deployed armed children — known as the “Cubs of the Caliphate — to give the impression the militant Islamist group retains control of the city. The children have been seen armed with light weapons and explosive belts, a local official said.

Iraqi officials also said forces are working to close down tunnels dug by the Islamic State. At least 12 tunnels have been closed, some with bulldozers, by Iraqi forces.

By Andrew V. Pestano