News ID: 193361
Published: 0714 GMT May 23, 2017

New bridge reunites Mosul as Iraqi forces gear up for final assault

New bridge reunites Mosul as Iraqi forces gear up for final assault

Iraqi military engineers installed a new floating bridge across the Tigris River on Wednesday, reconnecting the two halves of Mosul to facilitate troop deployments ahead of a final assault to dislodge Daesh terrorists.

All five bridges connecting the two sides of the city bisected by the Tigris were struck by the US-led coalition in order to hinder the terrorists' movements in the early stages of the campaign to retake Mosul last year, according to Reuters.

Seven months on, Iraqi forces have removed Daesh from all but a pocket of territory in the western half of Mosul, including the Old City, where the terrorists are expected to make their last stand.

It is set to be the most complex battleground yet.

"This floating bridge is very important for deploying reinforcements to the west side rapidly to build up adequate forces to sweep the Old City soon," Colonel Haitham al-Taie said.

Taie said the bridge in the Hawi al-Kaneesa area would also spare fleeing civilians from making a long journey to the nearest crossing point, about 30 km (20 miles) south of Mosul.

The United Nations said last week up to 200,000 more people may flee as Iraqi forces push to retake the rest of the city.

The terrorists are effectively holding hundreds of thousands of civilians hostage as human shields to slow their advance.

Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the Mosul operation.

The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.

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