News ID: 188414
Published: 0800 GMT February 26, 2017

Iraqi forces advance against terrorists in Mosul

Iraqi forces advance against terrorists in Mosul

Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul on Sunday, aiming to capture a bridge across the Tigris which would link the city's government-held eastern bank with the ongoing offensive against remaining terrorists in the west.

The bridge is the southernmost of five bridges spanning the Tigris. All were damaged in strikes by the US-led air coalition, and later by Daesh terrorists trying to seal off the western bank still under their control, Reuters reported.

"The bridge is very important," Colonel Falah al-Wabdan of the Interior Ministry's Rapid Response unit, one of the two main forces spearheading the campaign in western Mosul, told Reuters. "The bridge is about 400 meters away. By the end of the day you will hear that our forces have arrived (there)."

Army engineers plan to rehabilitate the bridge to allow troops to bring in reinforcements and supplies directly from the eastern side, he said.

Iraqi troops have already captured the southern and western accesses to western Mosul, dislodging the terrorists from the city’s airport, a military base, a power station and one residential district, Al-Mamoun, according to military statements.

The Federal Police Commandos Division moved into the Tayaran neighborhood amid fierce clashes, Maj. Gen. Haider al-Maturi told AP from Baghdad. Al-Maturi said the neighborhood "is now under their full control."

Further west, Iraqi special forces captured the Mamun neighborhood by early Sunday afternoon, Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the special forces confirmed.

They are currently about three kilometers (two miles) from the Old City center and the main government buildings, the capture of which would effectively mean the fall of Mosul.

Iraqi forces captured eastern Mosul in January, after 100 days of fighting. They launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris a week ago.

Army, police, and elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) and Rapid Response units forces are attacking Daesh terrorists in west Mosul.

Hundreds of people have fled the fighting in the direction of government lines since Thursday, at least 1,200 of them in the early hours of Sunday, according to a CTS officer.

Of those, several dozen had been forcibly taken into Mosul in the early stage of the offensive from nearby regions to serve as human shields.

Daesh forced tens of thousands of people to leave villages south of Mosul and walk alongside the terrorists as they retreated in late October toward the city. Thousands of them were freed in earlier stages of the offensive.

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