US General Urges Iraqis to Keep Up Pressure in Mosul Fight
The general running the coalition’s ground campaign in Iraq is urging Iraqi forces fighting for Mosul not to "go so fast that they start to give opportunity to the enemy."
"I’m not telling the Iraqis not to rush to Mosul. I’m telling them you’ve got the momentum, sustain the momentum, continue to put unrelenting pressure on the enemy and then the enemy is going to break," Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky told reporters via teleconference from Baghdad Wednesday.
The general said he expects Islamic State fighters to fight with a "full-fledged conventional defense in Mosul" until they lose the city. After that, he said, IS will turn into more of an insurgent force, using unconventional methods to make harassing attacks on Iraqis forces and civilians.
The U.S. has provided intelligence, logistics support, thousands of airstrikes, artillery fire and Apache helicopters to support the fight for Mosul. However, that fight is not the general’s sole focus. Volesky said some of his American forces are intentionally in other areas of Iraq to prevent any potential Islamic State efforts to shift the Iraqi government’s interest to the country’s south.
Meanwhile, the international charity Save the Children says thousands of people have fled the Mosul area in order to escape the unfolding offensive by Iraqi and Kurdish forces to retake the city from Islamic State militants. The aid group said about 5,000 people have arrived in the past 10 days at a refugee camp over the border in Syria, which risks being overwhelmed as more people flee.
Failed Missile Launch Detected in North Korea
U.S. and South Korean military officials say they have detected a failed ballistic missile launch in North Korea near the northwestern city of Kusong.
In a statement, The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said North Korea likely launched a Musudan intermediate-range missile early Thursday. U.S. and South Korean monitors say the missile appeared to have exploded shortly after take-off and thus posed no threat.
"We strongly condemn the North's continued illegal acts of provocation and are fully prepared to counter any further provocations," the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Thursday.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference Thursday Japan was aware of the missile launch and expects more missiles out of North Korea as the country expands its development program.