BAGHDAD/BARTELLA, Iraq - Islamic State fighters retreating in the face of a seven-week Iraqi military assault on their Mosul stronghold have hit back in the last two days, exploiting cloudy skies which hampered US-led air support and highlighting the fragile army gains.
In a series of counter-attacks since Friday night, the jihadist fighters struck elite Iraqi troops spearheading the offensive in eastern Mosul, and attacked security forces to the south and west of the city.
On Sunday two militants tried to attack army barracks in the western province of Anbar. Police and army sources said the attackers were killed before they reached the base.
Iraqi officials say they continue to gain ground against the militants who still hold about three-quarters of the country's largest northern city which is Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq.