'IS' In Talks With Al Qaeda On 'Possible Alliance'
Apr 19, 2017, 01:41
The talks come as Iraqi troops close in on IS fighters in the city of Mosul.
Mosul - Iraqi forces made advances in their fight against the ISIS extremist group in the Old City of Mosul with drones being used to direct strikes against militants and as the US-backed offensive to capture the city entered its seventh month.
The Iraqi forces' progress has been slow as about 400,000 civilians, or a quarter of Mosul's pre-war population, are trapped in the Old City, according to the United Nations.
"The sheer volume of civilians still fleeing Mosul city is staggering", said Lise Grande, humanitarian coordinator for Iraq.
"The battle in western Mosul is very different than in the east- it's much tougher".
"These shortages have likely been exacerbated by Daesh (Arabic acronym for the Islamic State)'s recent attacks on the Badush water treatment plant, western Mosul's largest functioning treatment plant", Dujarric said.
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The United Nations says almost half a million civilians had fled fighting since the offensive to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists started on October 17, 2016.
Heavy exchanges of gunfire and mortar rounds could be heard from the neighborhoods facing the old city across the Tigris River that bisects Mosul into a western and eastern sides.
'They (Islamic State militants) carry out attacks on our defensive lines, but each time we repel them and they run away, leaving bodies of their dead fighters behind, ' Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Lazim Zghayer said of the force's 9th division.
ISIS split from al Qaeda in 2014 and the two groups have since waged an acrimonious battle for recruits, funding and the mantle of global extremism. "There are discussions and dialogue between messengers representing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and representing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri".
This month it was reported the two terror groups had already formed a partnership in Libya amid mounting pressure on the jihadi movements and a leaked memo suggested they could be working together as one organisation by 2021.
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