Iraqi troops gain control on west bank of Tigris river

A member of the Iraqi rapid response forces fires during a battle with Islamic State militants at the Tigris river frontline near Mosul, Iraq, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Mosul ( Iraqi troops have controlled the southern bank of Tigris river in Mosul, Nineveh Operations has declared.

In a statement on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah said the troops raised the Iraqi flag at villages of shweitah, Tal al-Asfour and al-Sabouniya after liberating them.

Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response Forces said earlier on Thursday that the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service took over seven alleyways at al-Tanak, a district that is considered one of Islamic State’s most remarkable havens, after 13 hours of fighting with the militants.

Iraqi Joint Operations Command previously declared its forces had recaptured 60% of western Mosul from Islamic State militants, as operations enter a tenth week to clear the region from the extremist group

Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January, and started new offensive in February to retake the west.

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.

On Wednesday, Joint Operations Command’s Mosul operations announced resumption of military operations in Central Mosul, after being suspended for few days.

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