Mosul battle reaches key bridge over the Tigris

01 March, 2017, 00:46 | Author: Eileen Guzman
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Hundreds of civilians fled through the desert on Tuesday to escape fighting in Mosul, joining thousands of others who left their homes amid dire conditions in the city's west. They launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris a week ago.

Iraqi security forces managed to take control of a key bridge and a neighborhood as they push further into Western Mosul, the last major urban stronghold of the ISIS terrorists in the country.

The blog Musings on Iraq, which has published a detailed daily account of the 132-day campaign to take Mosul, complains that "the Iraqi forces' (ISF) statements either by officers or even official ones have become so unreliable that they can not be trusted unless pictures are posted on social media or a western reporter confirms them".

A Reuters reporter saw several trucks teeming with people, lifting columns of sand and dust as they drove away from the city. The rest stood on the open bed, held on to the truck from outside, or sat on top of the cabin.

"They trapped us and they didn't want us to leave", she said of the IS militants.

A Western volunteer medic at the CTS clinic said a boy with a gunshot wound that shattered his knee was among those treated on Monday, and a pregnant woman who had both legs amputated. Gen. Salman Hashem of the Counter-Terrorism Service said.

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"The provincial council and the governorate building are within the firing range of the Rapid Response forces", said an officer with the elite Interior Ministry units. One significant development is that U.S. soldiers advising and calling in air strikes are now positioned closer to the front line than they were past year.

Iraqi troops have already captured the southern and western accesses to western Mosul, dislodging the militants from the airport, a military base, a power station and three residential district, al-Maamoun, al-Tayyaran and al-Josaq, according to military statements.

The Iraqi Air Force conducted the strikes in the Syrian towns of Boukamal and Husseibah across the border, reported The Associated Press.

The recapture of Mosul by the Iraqi armed forces, which lost the city to a much smaller number of Isis fighters in June 2014, will be a crushing blow to the Caliphate that was declared at that time and at its height controlled territory the size of Great Britain.

Al-Hussaini told The Associated Press that IS militants were fighting back with snipers, anti-tank missiles and suicide auto bombs, describing the clashes as "fierce". The assault would fail, because multiple Iraqi troops devoid of ammo were pinned down by ISIS snipers, and under repeated fire during attempts to recover them.

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