Iraq Oil Report's Daily Brief compiles the most important news and analysis about Iraq from around the web.

Iraqi forces battle Islamic State near Tigris river in Mosul

Isabel Coles writes for Reuters:

Iraqi special forces battled Islamic State militants in districts near the Tigris river in Mosul on Monday as they sought to bring more of the east of the city back under government control.

The latest clashes occurred in the neighboring Shurta and Andalus districts. At least three Islamic State suicide car bombs targeted Iraqi forces in Andalus. There was no immediate word on any casualties. In an online post, Islamic State said it had carried out a "martyrdom operation" in the area.

Iraq's elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) said the militants, who seized Mosul in 2014 as they swept across much of northern Iraq, only to since lose much of that terrain to government counter-offensives, were fighting back hard.

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Iraq forces retake IS-bombed ‘Jonah’s tomb’ in Mosul

AFP reports:

Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State group in Mosul on Monday retook an area where the jihadists levelled one of the city's most well-known shrines in 2014, officials said.

"We retook control of Nabi Yunus area... raised the Iraqi flag above the tomb," Sabah al-Noman, spokesman for the Counter-Terrorism Service spearheading the Mosul offensive, told AFP.

He said two other neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul were also retaken from IS on Monday.

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Trapped by war, Mosul residents bury their dead wherever they can

Stephen Kalin writes for Reuters:

When four rockets crashed into his east Mosul home in November, Abu Abdel Malik's 60-year-old step-mother was killed instantly. But she wasn't properly buried for more than a month.

Fighting in Zuhur district and surrounding areas was too intense during that period to transport the body to the main cemetery in the suburb of Gogjali, just 5 km (3 miles) away.

So Abu Abdel Malik along with his father, brother, son and nephew dug a shallow hole under an orange tree in the garden just steps from where the family matriarch had died, and laid her there.

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ISIS Bombings Are Crimes Against Humanity

Human Rights Watch reports:

Recent car and suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) targeting crowded markets and hospitals in Baghdad amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said today. The Iraqi authorities should improve its implementation of the law to compensate victims of “military mistakes and terrorist actions” as part of its efforts against ISIS.

“ISIS has routinely carried out devastating attacks that appear designed to inflict maximum death and suffering on ordinary Iraqis,” said Nadim Houry, director of the terrorism and counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch. “The Iraqi and international strategy against ISIS should not ignore the victims of these and other unlawful attacks by all sides.”

Governments have the responsibility under international law to protect the lives of all those under their jurisdiction and to bring those who commit criminal offenses to justice. They should consider establishing mechanisms to address the needs of victims, including but not limited to reparations.

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In Iraq’s Mosul, university a casualty of anti-IS war

W.G. Dunlop writes for AFP:

Some buildings at the University of Mosul are charred by fires, others rigged with explosives, and bullets still periodically fly past a campus scarred by the battle for the city.

The sound of a jet, the whoosh of a descending missile and the explosion as it hits home mark an air strike nearby that sends a stream of black smoke rising toward the grey clouds blanketing the sky over Mosul.

The university -- like others located in or near cities that were seized by the Islamic State group in 2014 -- has become a casualty of the war to push the jihadists back.

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On Mosul frontlines, Islamic State’s local fighters direct the battle

Stephen Kalin writes for Reuters:

As Iraqi government forces advanced towards his eastern Mosul neighborhood in November, a group of Islamic State militants stormed Abu Rami's home, put a gun to his head and told him and his family to get out immediately.

Residents told Reuters during a visit to the Muharibeen district on Friday how the battle played out for them, describing scenes likely repeated in one form or another across the city.

Abu Rami, a 54-year-old former government employee, described a division of labor among Islamic State militants at the frontlines: a group that plants explosives, one that has snipers and another that serves as local guides.

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Iraqi Forces in IS Battle Raise Flag Over Mosul University

Susannah George and Khalid Mohammed write for AP:

Iraqi special forces raised the Iraqi flag above buildings within the Mosul University complex Friday as they battled Islamic State militants for control of the city, according to senior Iraqi officers and the U.S.-led coalition.

The troops entered the university grounds in the morning hours and by afternoon they had taken control of a neighborhood on the northeastern edge of the university compound and the technical institute within the campus, according to special forces Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil and Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi.

By evening, Iraqi forces had also taken control of the Nineveh governorate and council buildings, according to a statement from the U.S.-led coalition.

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Mosul Civilians Sift Through Rubble as Coalition Takes Fiercely Held Neighborhoods

Heather Murdock writes for Voice of America:

“When we got out of the house, we ran. A sniper's bullet nearly hit my aunt’s foot,” says Nouradine, a former tile worker in a tiny grocery store in Mosul.

Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants had been fighting for a month in Nouradine's area, so when he saw his chance a few days ago, he ran.

The next day, the fighting finally stopped. Iraqi forces had secured it and several other fiercely contested neighborhoods in the past week, building momentum as the military fights toward its immediate goal of recapturing all of the city east of the Tigris River.

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Iraqi forces make rapid gains against Islamic State in Mosul

Isabel Coles and John Davison write for Reuters:

Iraqi special forces stormed a sprawling university complex in northeast Mosul on Friday and pushed Islamic State back in nearby areas to reach two more bridges across the Tigris River, the military said.

The militants were fighting back at Mosul University, which they seized when they took over the city in 2014. A Reuters reporter saw heavy clashes inside the campus.

Iraqi forces have now recaptured most districts in eastern Mosul, nearly three months into a U.S.-backed offensive, which accelerated at the turn of the year with new tactics and better coordination.

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In Iraq, thousands of terrorism’s victims go unnamed

Moni Basu writes for CNN:

It was a typical July night in Baghdad and even at midnight, the air radiated the day's heat. Some people in the upscale Karrada neighborhoood were sitting at outdoor cafes, watching a nail-biter finish to a Germany-Italy soccer match.

But all was shattered about 45 minutes after midnight when the sound of an explosion reverberated through the entire neighborhood.

Among all the terrorist attacks of 2016 worldwide, the Karrada bombing on July 3 stood as the year's deadliest.

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