Iraqi soldiers hit by Islamic State gas attack in western Mosul

(SKY NEWS) — A gas attack blamed on Islamic State militants has struck Iraqi soldiers in a newly-liberated area of Mosul.

The country’s military said jihadists fired a chlorine-filled rocket at troops who are trying to seize the west of the Iraqi city from IS.

Seven soldiers suffered breathing problems and were treated in a nearby field clinic following the night attack in al Abar.

US-backed Iraqi forces launched their offensive to reclaim western Mosul in February and have already taken back more than half of it.

But their progress has been slowed by improvised explosive devices and snipers as the troops engage in house-to-house fighting.

The US-led coalition is attempting to recapture the Old City from the extremists, but the ancient quarters are densely populated and there have been concerns over civilian casualties.

The jihadists have been sheltering behind families, using them as human shields and mounting attacks from their homes while terrorizing them into staying.

Thousands of civilians have managed to flee, but many are still trapped in what is the last major IS stronghold in Iraq.

The extremists were driven out of the eastern half of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, in January.

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