ERBIL— In an ambush set by the Islamic State (IS) militants on Sunday 13 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed in central Mosul and the troops were forced to retreat from an area that they had retaken only hours earlier.
Iraqi media outlets reported that the jihadists also destroyed five vehicles of the Iraqi forces in the attack in Mosul Medical Compound in Shifa neighborhood of Mosul.
The compound was freed on Saturday evening jointly by the Rapid Response Force of the Ministry of Interior, the Ninth Armored Division, and the Second Battalion of the Iraqi Army.
Several key hospitals of Mosul as well as Mosul's college of medicine are located in the compound.
The reports cited an unidentified official from the Rapid Response Force as saying many IS militants were killed and many fled away as the Iraqi forces controlled the compound.
He described this as "a trap in reality," because with the nightfall tens of militants with highly sophisticated weaponry accompanied by six suicide bombers came out of the tunnels which they had dug earlier to move between different locations in the area.
He noted four of the suicide bombers had put on explosive belts and the remaining two were driving bombed motorcycles.
The number of IS assailants was more than 30 who used medium and light weaponry as well as rocket launchers, according to the official.
"The Iraqi forces could push back on the attack but due to their unfamiliarity with the geography of the area and in the absence of air support, they were forced to withdraw to minimize the moral and material damages," the official was quoted as saying.
The clashes continued till dawn and the Iraqi forces were obliged to retreat to the nearby Mosul International Hotel.