Iraqi military unable to hold Mosul

MOSUL, Iraq, June 26 (UPI) — Iraqi security forces are unable to maintain order following operations targeting al-Qaida fighters in the northern city of Mosul, officials said Thursday.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities view Mosul, the provincial capital of Ninawa, as one of the last remaining al-Qaida strongholds in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a military crackdown in the northern city in May.

The gains from these operations, however, have disintegrated as militant groups re-entered the city and gunmen reportedly are roaming the streets in force, the Iraqi daily Azzaman reported.

Ninawa officials said there was an insufficient number of Iraqi troops to maintain security following operations in May.

“Residents are hopeless once again after shortly enjoying the faint light at the end of the tunnel,” officials said on condition of anonymity.

Officials said they are also concerned about the presence of the Kurdish Peshmerga force, which guards their political districts in the largely Arab city.

At least 18 people died and nearly 80 were wounded in a car bomb attack in Mosul Thursday that targeted the offices of Ninawa Provincial Governor Duraid Kashmula.

Published: June 26, 2008

Source: Middle East Times

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