The Latest: Turkish leader says West is helping IS

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2016 8:19 AM
The Latest: Turkish leader says West is helping IS

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The Latest in the monthlong campaign to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Turkey's president says the West is supporting the Islamic State group.

In a speech before the Pakistani parliament on Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "the West is at the moment with Daesh," adding that weapons seized from the militants originated in Western countries. "Daesh" is an Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

Turkey is a member of NATO and of the U.S.-led coalition battling IS in Syria and Iraq. Coalition airstrikes against the extremists have helped Iraqi and Syrian forces drive them out of a number of towns and cities over the past year.

IS captured a large number of U.S.-supplied vehicles and weapons when it swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014.

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2:15 p.m.

Iraqi special forces say Islamic State militants have fired mortar rounds on government-controlled neighborhoods in eastern Mosul, killing at least seven civilians.

Army medic Bashir Jabar, in charge of a field clinic run by the special forces, says IS attacked the city's eastern Tahrir neighborhood and nearby areas on Thursday as civilians were fleeing to camps sheltering displaced families.

Jabbar says two children were among those killed and that 35 people were wounded, including 18 children.

On a donkey-drawn wood cart, a grieving family carried the body of their 18-year-old son, wrapped in a white plastic bag. The slain teen's uncle, Mohammed Ismael, said his nephew was in the street when a mortar shell landed nearby, wounding him fatally in the head.

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10:40 a.m.

Iraq special forces say they're temporarily pausing in their push into the northern city of Mosul held by the Islamic State group due to poor weather.

Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil says clouds over the city on Thursday have obscured the visibility of drones and strike aircraft. He says the troops are securing areas they have taken with checkpoints and sweeping for explosives.

Heavy fighting broke out a day earlier in Mosul's eastern Tahrir neighborhood, where an IS suicide car bomber disabled an Abrams tank belonging to the Iraqi army.

Iraqi forces launched the long-awaited operation to retake Mosul nearly a month ago but have only advanced into a few eastern districts. The troops have faced fierce resistance, with snipers, mortar fire and suicide bombers driving armor-plated vehicles packed with explosives.