ISIS Says It’s Dispatched 58 Suicide Bombers In A Week Of Battle
The group's media wing is claiming multiple fatalities on the enemy side to shore up ISIS morale
As the battle for Mosul stretches into its second week the toll at least on the Islamic State’s side continues to grow. The group’s news agency Amaq on Tuesday issued a statement claiming it has sent 58 separate suicide bombers towards the forces attacking the city’s outskirts.
At the same time, in a bid to shore up morale, the group insists it has killed 819 Iraqi and Kurdish fighters and destroyed dozens of vehicles of the ‘enemy.’ The group also claims that 41 residents were killed in coalition airstrikes, and at least 67 others were wounded. The claims contrast with reports in Arab media that rate the casualties on the other side as much lower, 90 Iraqi fighters killed, among them five high-ranking officers.
According to Reuters, more than 770 ISIS fighters have been killed since the offensive got underway, as local Iraqi and Kurdish forces, consisting around 30,000 fighters backed by U.S Special Forces and foreign air support, managed to retake 78 villages near Mosul.
ISIS fighters struck Kirkuk last week, as well as the town of Rutba near the Syrian border. The group’s media arm released images showing its fighters attacking Iraqi forces with guided missiles, while also posting images purportedly showing life as “normal” inside the city of Mosul.
The campaign to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State is being billed as one of the largest battles since the U.S.-led military invasion into Iraq in 2003. There is humanitarian concern for the estimated 600,000-1 million people believed to still be inside the city, which was once home to nearly 2.5 million. According to the UN Refugee Agency the number of people displaced by war in Iraq has reached 3.3 million, or nearly one-tenth of the population.