16 IS members arrested as security measures tightened southern Mosul

Rapid Response forces members cross farm land during a battle with islamic state’s militants south west Mosul, Iraq February 24, 2017. .REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Mosul ( Security troops heightened measures at the liberated regions and searched for Islamic State militants, in south of Mosul, a source from Nineveh police said.

“Security forces imposed tight measures in Qayyarah and Hamam al-Alil towns and arrested 16 IS members,” Captain Jasem Mohamed told BasNews.

“Several others, who were hiding among displaced families at Hamam al-Alil camps, were arrested over doubts of involvement with IS,” he added.

Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response forces declared recapturing 30 percent of western Mosul’s Old City.

Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S-led coalition and paramilitary troops, launched an offensive in October 2016 to recapture Mosul, the group’s largest stronghold in Iraq.

The eastern side of the city was recaptured in January. A new offensive was launched in February to retake the western side. Battles in the west are believed to be much more difficult due to the density of residential areas and the high number of civilians.

Retaking Mosul could be symbolic blow to the extremist group’s self-styled “Islamic Caliphate” declared in 2014 when the group occupied several parts of the country.

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