Mosul Battle: Iraqi Forces Make Fresh Progress

Mosul Battle: Iraqi Forces Make Fresh Progress
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Iraqi forces have made fresh progress by entering Mosul from the north for the first time in the battle against Islamic State (ISIS).

Elite troops captured al-Muthana following night-time fighting putting them in a position to take higher ground nearby. It comes days after Iraqi forces began the second phase of a push to conquer the last major IS stronghold in Iraq.

About two-thirds of east Mosul has been retaken since October, the army had raised the national flag after capturing al-Muthana.

Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) spokesman Sabah al-Numan told Reuters news agency soldiers had attacked by night for the first time, crossing a tributary of the River Tigris.

“We used special equipment and had the element of surprise – the enemy did not expect us to mount a night offensive because all previous offensives were during the day,” he said.

On Wednesday the commander of the US-led coalition against IS said Iraqi forces were gaining momentum in Mosul, in northern Iraq, after the campaign had almost ground to a halt by December in the face of fierce resistance by IS.

Lieutenant General Steve Townsend said this was partly due to improved co-ordination between Iraqi commanders from various pro-government forces involved in the operation.

Troops would soon “cut the head of the snake” and drive the ultra-hardline group from its largest urban stronghold, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Friday.

-Agencies

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