Iraqi unit with US, Australian advisers hit with gas by ISIS

  • Iraqi unit with US, Australian advisers hit with gas by ISIS

Iraqi unit with US, Australian advisers hit with gas by ISIS

In February, Iraqi ground forces - backed by a US -led air coalition - began fresh operations aimed at driving Daesh militants from western Mosul, the terrorist group's last stronghold in northern Iraq.

To help defend against future attacks, two Army officers stated that gas masks have been passed around, as the attack Sunday marked the second chemical weapons attack in a matter of days.

Government forces are trying to capture the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City, from where Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" spanning parts of Iraq and Syria almost three years ago.

Iraqi and coalition forces pushed the Islamic State terror group, or ISIS or ISIL, from the city's west side in January.

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"My advice right at the moment is that no Australian troops were affected by the chemical attack, but Australian forces did provide assistance following the attack", Turnbull told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Progress has slowed considerably in Mosul because much of the fighting is now door-to-door.

"Civilians in Mosul face incredible, terrifying risks", said the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande. Iraqi government forces have taken back most of it in a US-backed offensive launched in October, including the half that lies east of the Tigris River. "Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits", Grande said.

ISIS has launched 52 chemical strikes against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, the London-based IHS conflict monitor said in a report published late a year ago.