MOSUL, Iraq, Iraqi security forces recaptured a neighbourhood and two villages, killing up to 200 militants of extremist Daesh group, as troops launched the second phase of offensive, to drive out the militants from their major stronghold in the city of Mosul, the Iraqi military said.
Members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) attacked the front lines of the militants in several neighbourhoods in the eastern side of Mosul, and managed to retake control of al-Quds, while heavy clashes continued in other nearby neighbourhoods, a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said.
In the northern front, the soldiers of the army's 16th Division freed the villages of al-Sada and Tawiyla and raised the Iraqi flag over their main buildings, after fierce clashes with the militants, the statement said.
In south-eastern Mosul, the federal police teamed up with the soldiers of the 9th armoured Division and attacked the front lines of the militants in the three neighbourhoods of al-Entisar, al-Salam and al-Shaimaa, sparking heavy clashes with the militants during the day, the statement added.
The troops made limited progress inside the three neighbourhoods, which already were battleground of fierce clashes between the troops and the militants in the past weeks, according to the statement.
On the other side, the extremist group 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 the militants, backed by booby-trapped cars and a number of suicide bombers, attacked the federal police and the 9th Division soldier in south-eastern part of the city, but the troops repelled their attacks, killing some 103 militants and four suicide bombers wearing explosive vests, according to the statement.
The troops also destroyed 24 booby-trapped cars, including several suicide car bombs, in addition to destroying two vehicles carrying heavy machine guns, it said.
Another Daesh attack was repelled by the 16th Division soldiers, when the extremist militants attacked their positions in the northern edge of the city, leaving some 50 militants killed and 12 car bombs destroyed, the statement said.
Meanwhile, Abu Hudhaifa, a prominent Daesh leader of Mosul's northern front was killed by an air strike conducted by the U.S.-led coalition aircraft, it added.
In eastern Mosul, the elite CTS forces fought back a Daesh counter-attack during the day, leaving 35 militants killed and destroying two suicide car bombs and a vehicle carrying a heavy machine gun and four militants aboard, 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 neighbourhoods in the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris, which bisects the city.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK