Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi government forces have announced resumption of military operations in Central Mosul, after being suspended for few days.
“Military operations were resumed in Central Mosul with support from U.S.-led coalition jets,” Maj. Gen. Najm al-Jubouri, head of the Joint Operations Command’s Mosul operations told BasNews on Wednesday. “Troops are opening safe passageways to get civilians out of the battlefields.”
“Sporadic confrontations started early on the day between the troops and Islamic State militants in Mosul’s Old City,” he added.
“Eight IS members were killed, dozens were injured in Central Mosul,” Jubouri said.
On Tuesday, local sources were quoted by Shafaaq News as saying that IS started to forcibly evacuate residents out of al-Saa, Serjkhana, Bab Jadid and Bab al-Beed in the Old City toward the neighboring districts of Mashahda and Zanjili.
However, Commanders from the Iraqi side and the allied U.S.-led coalition accused IS of using civilians in Mosul as human shields since operations launched in October to retake the city. Security troops were prompted to change tactics and slow down the pace at many occasions to ensure safety of civilians.
On Monday, the Federal Police Chief Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat said its troops brought down 60 percent of IS defenses around the Old City.
Eastern Mosul was recaptured in January after three months of fighting. Another offensive was launched mid February to retake the western region.
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.