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Advancing troops encounter mounting desperation in Mosul

Advancing troops encounter mounting desperation in Mosul

Another Iraqi army commander, Brigadier General Haidar Fadel, said a suicide auto bomber attempted to drive his vehicle toward troops in the city's Tahrir neighbourhood, but was shot dead and his explosives-laden auto detonated at a safe distance.

Iraqi citizens que to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016.

An officer from the interior ministry forces said local residents reported an estimated 40 people could be buried at the site, which IS allegedly used as an execution ground.

Major Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the special forces told The Associated Press that his men foiled two attempted suicide auto bombings early on Monday, firing on the approaching vehicles, which exploded before reaching their intended targets. Troops in those areas continue to be hit by mortar rounds, sniper fire and suicide bombers, he said. Their arrival on the neighbourhood's fringes prompted hundreds of civilians to come out of their homes carrying white flags seeking protection behind army lines. The campaign is being assisted by airstrikes from the USA -led military coalition. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief media.

To the west of Mosul, government-sanctioned Shiite militias took full control of the Tal Afar military airfield Friday night, said Jaafar al-Husseini, a spokesman for the influential Hezbollah Brigades.

Prior to its capture by IS, Shiites constituted the majority of Tal Afar's estimated 200,000 residents.

The proportion of civilians among the wounded also appears to be on the rise, reaching 20 percent in the first month of the offensive, according to a Department of Health official, though part of the increase is likely due to improved access to areas newly retaken from Islamic State.

ISIL has pledged to mount more suicide attacks to combat Iraqi forces. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of Sunday's attacks.