At least five people were killed and 19 wounded today, in two suicide bombings that hit an Iraqi army position and a restaurant in eastern Mosul, a medical source said.
A man believed to belong to Daesh blew himself up inside the Sayidati Al-Jamila (“My Fair Lady”) restaurant at lunchtime, killing at least four people and wounding 15.
The second attack was a car bomb that killed a soldier and wounded four others in the Al-Nour district.
Although use of car bombs are frequently associated with Daesh, the attack against Iraqi military units in the Al-Nour neighbourhood could be related to an earlier incident of sectarianism against Sunni religious sites.
According to reports from Mosul, Shia soldiers entered the Mosque of Aisha, named after one of the wives of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad who is cursed by many Shia but revered by Sunnis. The soldiers allegedly closed down the mosque before defacing it and renaming it the “Mosque of Daesha”, in a rhyming play on words intended to insult the historical wife of the Prophet beloved by Sunni Muslims.
The reports cited an Iraqi soldier as saying that the reason this happened was due to the imam, a Muslim chaplain, being affiliated to Daesh. However, this was denied and rejected by people in Mosul who know the mosque.
Both districts in eastern Mosul were recently retaken from the militant group by US and Iran-backed Iraqi forces. An explosive belt of the style usually worn by suicide bombers also blew up in a street of Al-Zuhour without causing casualties.
The offensive that started in October to capture Mosul from Daesh largely paused last month after Iraqi forces took almost all the districts lying east of the Tigris River that bisects the city, pondering how best to cross into Daesh-held territory in western Mosul.
Today’s attacks are yet another major incident in districts retaken by Iraqi forces. A triple car bombing killed at least 23 people in the eastern satellite town of Kokjali on 22 December. More recently, an amphibious force of Daesh operatives used boats to cross the Tigris from the west bank to the east and engage Iraqi forces.