Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi forces recaptured two more districts in western Mosul from Islamic State militants as the government struggles to impose further control over the region, the Defense Ministry media said Tuesday.
The War Media Cell said the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces recaptured al-Resala and Shuqaq Nablus (apartment buildings) towards the western axis of operations.
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.