Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi security forces invaded on Monday an Iraqi military base that has been under Islamic State militants’ control in western Mosul, an army officer said.
Maj. Ali Mohsen, from the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces, said in press statements that the forces, backed by Federal Police troops, invaded Monday the Gozlani camp, the army’s biggest military facility in Mosul, predicting the area to be retaken within hours.
According to Mohsen, 25 Islamic State members were killed as the force marched toward the camp, and managed to deactivate booby-traps the group had placed on the road to the camp, which stretches alongside the Mosul Airport, another major target on the forces’ battle plan.
Iraqi forces, backed by al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), had earlier retaken the Bou Saif village, which is adjacent to the camp.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Sunday that security forces launched an operation to retake the western side of Mosul, Islamic State militants’ largest stronghold in Iraq which the group took over in 2014. He said on January 24th that government forces, backed by popular militias and U.S.-led coalition troops, had cleared the whole of the eastern region from militants after more than three months of fighting.
Recapturing Mosul would represent the strongest blow to Islamic State’s proclaimed “Islamic Caliphate”. Iraqi and international coalition generals had predicted the city to be IS-free within six months.
Commanders at the Joint Forces Command and the Federal Police said Sunday they killed 79 militants, recaptured 17 villages and 120 square kilometers of western Mosul on the first day of operations.