IRAQI FORCES FIGHT DAESH MILITANTS IN MOSUL DESPITE STIFF RESISTANCE

| January 1, 2017

BAGHDAD, Iraqi security forces on Friday continued grueling clashes with Daesh militants in the second day of a renewed advance to retake control of the city of Mosul, despite strong resistance by the extremist militants, the Iraqi military said.

Members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) continued their slow advance to clear the remaining parts of al-Quds, districts of eastern Mosul, while managed to make a progress in the nearby al-Karama amid heavy clashes with the militants, a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said.

In northern front, the soldiers of the army's 16th Division cleared new areas, including a medicine factory and a poultry slaughterhouse near the northern outer edge of Mosul, the statement said.

In southeastern Mosul, the federal police with the soldiers of the 9th Armored Division continued their fierce clashes with Daesh militants and managed to push the Daesh front line back and gained control of new buildings in the three neighborhoods of al-Entisar, al-Salam and al-Shaimaa, the statement added.

For the second day of heavy clashes, the troops made limited progress inside the three neighborhoods, which already were battleground of fierce clashes between the troops and Daesh militants in the past weeks.

According to the statement, Daesh militants carried out several counter-attacks against the attacking troops in an attempt to foil the troops' operations and to inflict heavy casualties among them.

Dozens of Daesh militants, backed by booby-trapped cars, attacked the federal police and the 9th Division soldier in southeastern part of the city, but the troops repelled their attacks, killing some 98 militants, according to the statement.

The troops also destroyed 15 booby-trapped cars, in addition to destroying a vehicle carrying heavy machine gun, it said.

Another Daesh attack was repelled by the 16th Division soldiers and U.S.-led coalition aircraft when the extremist militants attacked their positions in the northern edge of the city, leaving some 70 IS militants killed and 12 car bombs destroyed, the statement said.

In eastern Mosul, the elite CTS forces fought back a Daesh counter-attack during the day, leaving 50 Daesh militants killed and destroying two suicide car bombs and two vehicle carrying heavy machine guns, it said.

The battles in Mosul came as the elite CTS forces, army troops and federal police launched in the early morning the second phase of a major offensive to free Mosul, and the troops made their new push into several neighborhoods in the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris which bisects the city.

For the second day of a new push to free the remaining neighborhoods of the eastern bank of the city, the troops are facing stiff resistance by the extremist militants.

The elite CTS forces have pushed in eastern Mosul since late October, but regular army and federal police forces tasked with advancing from north and south made slower advance and failed, so far, to reunite with the CTS troops inside the city.

In the past few weeks, the battles in Mosul were slowed amid grueling fighting inside Mosul with extremist militants, who used the city's civilians as human shields, carried out brutal counter attacks in small groups moving quickly throughout the districts, and resorted to suicide car bombs, in addition to mortar and sniper attacks.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.

Since then, Iraqi security forces, backed by international coalition forces, have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city.

Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under Daesh control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling Daesh militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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