IRAQI FORCES RECAPTURE NEW AREAS, CLOSE IN ON TIGRIS RIVER IN DAESH STRONGHOLD, MOSUL

| January 8, 2017

MOSUL, Iraq, Iraqi government forces freed more areas from the Daesh militants in Mosul, bringing the troops closer to the bank of the Tigris River, for the first time in northern Iraq, the Iraqi military said.

In the eastern front, the elite forces of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), continued their progress in two routes; the first one was the push further beyond the al-Muthanna neighbourhood, which was freed the day before, in an overnight raid, and recaptured the adjacent neighbourhood of al-Rifaq, a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said.

The heavy clashes with the militants in al-Rifaq neighbourhood left some 20 extremist militants killed and three car bombs destroyed, the statement said.

The second CTS route within the eastern front made a significant progress, when they freed the neighbourhoods of al-Atibaa and Furqan and took new positions close to the fourth bridge on the Tigris River, which bisects the city, killing some 65 militants and destroying a car bomb and a vehicle carrying heavy machine gun, the statement added.

In the south-eastern front, the Iraqi federal police and army soldiers recaptured the medical complex, which includes the hospitals of al-Salam and al-Shifaa, and the college of medicine, while heavy fighting with slow progresses continued in Mosul's south-eastern neighbourhoods of al-Salam, Palestine, al-Shaimaa, Domiez and Sumer, according to the statement.

The battles in south-eastern Mosul were covered by the U.S.-led coalition war planes and Iraqi helicopter gunships, it said, adding that, the clashes left dozens of militants killed and 10 of their vehicles destroyed.

In the northern front, the army backed by international aircraft, fought sporadic clashes during clearing operation, to many of the 168-building residential compound of Hadbaa, which were freed in the advance, which occurred on Friday, in the northern edges of the eastern side of Mosul, leaving some 26 militants killed, according to the statement.

In south-west of Mosul, federal police forces repelled an attack by dozens of militants, on the troops' positions at the village of Bakhira, killing some 20 militants and destroying a booby-trapped vehicle and a vehicle carrying heavy machine gun, it said.

The battles in Mosul came, as the CTS commandos, army and federal police launched, on Dec 29, the second phase of a major offensive to free Mosul. The troops made their new push into several neighbourhoods in the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris River.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said in a recent report that, the military operations in Mosul, have pushed some 132,000 civilians to flee their homes in the city and its adjacent districts, since the beginning of military offensive in Oct to reclaim the Daesh's largest stronghold in Iraq.

More than 1.5 million people were trapped in the city of roughly two million people previously. Cold winter worsened the conditions for the displaced people, who suffered severe shortages of food and water, while camps and other emergency shelters reached maximum capacity.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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