Al-Raad combat force arrives in Mosul as operations resume

Iraqi rapid response members prepare to cross the route to avoid being hit by Islamic State snipers in western Mosul, Iraq March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Mosul ( Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response Forces announced arrival of Al-Raad combat force at Mosul’s Old City, coming from Baghdad.

Captain Adnan al-Khafaji, from the ministry forces, was quoted by Middle East Online as saying that Al-Raad force arrived few days ago in the Old City. “The force, along with Federal Police and the Rapid Response Forces started on Tuesday raiding the Old City amid fierce resistance by the Islamic State militants.”

“Al-Raad force is well-trained on street wars as well as protecting civilians and their properties,” he added.

Khafaji revealed that “suspending the operations helped IS reinforce its fighting capabilities and develop confrontation methods.”

Previously on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Najm al-Jubouri, head of the Joint Operations Command’s Mosul Operations indicated opened safe passageways to get civilians out of the battlefields as sporadic confrontations started earlier on the day between the troops and IS in the Old City.

On Monday, the Federal Police Chief Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat said its troops brought down 60 percent of IS defenses around the Old City.

Eastern Mosul was recaptured in January after three months of fighting. Another offensive was launched mid February to retake the western region.

Troops have been struggling to fully retake central Mosul’s Old City, a densely-populated and structured area which generals view as vital for victory over IS.

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