Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi security forces seized on Saturday an Islamic State command center and two prisons run by the extremist group in eastern Mosul, a senior military official said.
Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, who commands joint forces operations seeking to retake Nineveh from militants, said in a statement that Federal Police’s “rapid response” forces also became in control of al-Salam, al-Shefa and the Faculty of Medicine in the eastern section of Mosul.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a US-led military coalition, began on December 29th a second phase of an operation that launched in October 2016 to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and IS largest stronghold in the country.
Marking the 96th anniversary of the establishment of the Iraqi army on Thursday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said forces had, so far, recaptured two thirds of Nineveh, the province embedding Mosul.
Military officials were quoted recently as saying that government troops became in control of 70 percent of the Mosul’s eastern section. Advances made on Friday put the forces one more step closer to the Tigris River, which bisects the city. IS remains in control over most of the western side of the city, which is close to its strongholds in Syria.
Iraq’s defence ministry media has put the number of Islamic State fighters killed this week at 1757 since a second phase of operations kicked off after weeks of recess.
The conflict in Mosul has forced at least 160.000 to flee homes to refugee camps since October, when operations launched to liberate the city.