Iraqi forces recapture more districts in eastern Mosul, kill 19 militants

Tanks of Iraqi army take part in an operation against Islamic State militants southeast of Mosul, Iraq November 26, 2016. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Nineveh ( Iraqi forces recaptured more districts from Islamic State militants on Sunday as a second phase of operations that launched last October grind on to clear eastern Mosul from militants.

Lt. Col. Eyad al-Awsyi told Anadolu Agency that the army’s 9th division and Federal Police teams regained full control over al-Intissar district, also becoming closer to retaking al-Karama, another neighborhood. He said 19 IS militants were killed and a trapped car was exploded during the operations.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell also reported that the forces recaptured the districts of Yunus al-Sabaawi and Yafa in southeast of the city.

Operations on Sunday and Saturday were carried out under an aerial cover from Iraqi and US-led coalition fighter jets.

Iraqi government forces declared on Thursday they were starting a second phase of operations to retake Iraq’s second largest city from militants after a few weeks of recess for resupply and reinforcement. Liberating Mosul, IS last outstanding stronghold in Iraq, could deal a final fatal blow to group’s influence in the country.

Forces have now become in control over more than 40 out of a total of nearly 60 districts of the city’s eastern section, and are hoping to push forward towards the west, where IS still maintain several locations near the borders with Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Saturday the battle for Mosul was entering a “decisive” stage, and predicted in December that the operations could realize final victory within two months.

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