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Clinton Blasts Trump For Criticizing Iraq's Battle Against Islamic State

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (left) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have clashed over the Iraqi fight to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed her Republican rival Donald Trump for saying that the week-old effort to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group was going badly.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the United States, mounted a huge assault on the last stronghold of IS in Iraq on October 16. They have retaken about 80 IS-held villages and towns since the offensive was launched, but have yet to move on the city itself -- something which commanders have said could take weeks or even months.

Trump tweeted over the weekend that the "attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster," prompting Clinton to retort on October 24: "He's basically declaring defeat before the battle has even started."

"It's not only wrong, it's dangerous, and it needs to be repudiated on November 8," Clinton said. "He's proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander in chief."

But Trump only repeated his criticism on October 24, telling supporters: "Now we're bogged down in Mosul. The enemy is much tougher than they thought... It's a horrible, horrible situation that's going on."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters