Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi security forces controlled more government and commercial facilities in central Mosul on Tuesday, while three suicide bombers were killed by the troops, according to police sources.
Cap. Amir Watheq, from the Nineveh police force, told BasNews that security forces took over some citizens’ services, commercial and telecommunication facilities in central Mosul after recapturing the Nineveh, Bata and al-Kotob streets.
Meanwhile, col. Khodeir Saleh told the website that three suicide bombers belonging to the Islamic State were killed before they targeted civilians in Mosul a-Jadida district.
Iraqi government troops launched a major offensive in February to retake western Mosul from Islamic State militants. The troops recaptured the eastern side of IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq in January.
Since launching the offensive on western Mosul, Iraqi forces recaptured the city’s government complex, airport and biggest military base from militants, claiming control recently over at least 60 percent of territory.
Troops’ commanders said one day ago they became much closer to the city’s grand mosque where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the establishment of the group’s rule in Iraq in 2014.
Iraqi commanders had admitted that battles in western Mosul were tougher compared to the east as IS fighters positioned in the middle of densely-populated and narrowly-structured residential areas, relying on snipers and booby-traps to hold off the advancing security forces. Bad weather has also slowed down operations over the past few days and forced troops to change tactics.