UPDATED: Iraqi forces recapture western Mosul’s Aamel, hold off attack on Tal Afar airport

Tal Afar military airport.

Nineveh ( Iraqi special forces recaptured Friday another district in western Mosul as operations against the Islamic State continue, also foiling an attack on a major military airport, according to security sources.

The Joint Operations Command said government forces recaptured al-Aamel district in southwest Mosul amid resistance from IS extremists.

Shafaaq news website had also quoted sources saying that the army’s 92nd brigade foiled an attack by IS on the Tal Afar military airport, a facility which al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) took over previously late 2016.

The Joint Operations Command said earlier on Friday that the government forces recaptured had the Nabi Sheet and Okaidat districts, both adjacent to the Old City, a major target for Iraqi troops leading the offensive against IS in western Mosul.

Sputnik News agency also quoted an Iraqi security source Friday saying that members from the Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response forces raised the Iraqi flag above the Palestine Hotel.

The Iraqi government launched a major offensive in February to retake western Mosul from Islamic State militants. The forces recaptured the eastern side of the city late January after three months of fighting.

In the western region, Iraqi forces have made remarkable gains, taking over a government complex last week that hosts the governor’s office, a main central bank branch, a police department, a courthouse and other public facilities. The forces had earlier retaken the city’s airport and biggest military camp.

The army’s Counter-Terrorism Service said last week government forces had become in control over 60 percent of the western side. Generals from the Iraqi side and the allied U.S.-led coalition had estimated six months needed to fully liberate the city which fell to the extremist group in 2014.

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