36 IS members killed in western, southern Mosul strikes, including mayor

U.S. soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division gather around an artillery at a military base north of Mosul, Iraq, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Nineveh ( Airstrikes on Islamic State locations in southern and western Mosul left 35 members killed on Wednesday, including a regional mayor, according to military sources.

Colonel Khodeir Saleh, from the Federal Police service, told Bas News that 35 Islamic State extremists were killed in an artillery and airstrikes by jets and cannons from the U.S.-led coalition in southern Mosul. He did not name the exact location of the strikes, but added that they coincided with other strikes at the Mosul Airport, a major IS stronghold targeted by Iraqi forces.

Meanwhile, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) said through its media service that Iraqi fighter jets killed the Islamic State’s so-called “wali” (governor) of the town of Tal Afar, Mostafa Youssef, when they bombarded the village of Ein Tallawi in western Mosul.

The Iraqi government declared Sunday it had launched a new, decisive stage of operations against Islamic State in western Mosul, having retaken the eastern region late January after three months of battles. Mosul is IS’s largest urban stronghold in Iraq, and its recapture would be critical in ending the group’s existence in Iraq.

On Tuesday, news reports quoted Federal Police chief, Shaker Jawdat, as saying that intense bombardment on the airport had killed dozens of IS fighters and forced the group to withdraw from the facility. The forces had captured the al-Bouseif hills overlooking the airport and invaded the Ghizlani military camp which stretches nearby.

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