Iraqi army: Islamic State has 5,000 to 6,000 fighters in Mosul

By REUTERS
October 19, 2016 13:08

 
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ERBIL, Iraq - Islamic State has 5,000 to 6,000 fighters defending the city of Mosul against an offensive by Iraqi forces, the head of Iraq's special forces Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday announced the start of an offensive on the northern city, the last major stronghold of the militants in Iraq, with the backing of a U.S.-led coalition.

"Intelligence information indicates that there are 5,000 to 6,000 Daesh fighters," Shaghati told a news conference near Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region east of Mosul, using an Arabic acronym of Islamic State.

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