Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) recaptured a village in western Mosul from Islamic State militants on Thursday, the commander of joint security operations in Nineveh said.
Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah said PMU recaptured the village of Hajaf, south of Tal Abta, and raised the Iraqi flag at its buildings.
His announcement came hours after al-Hashd al-Shaai’s media reported the arrival of large military reinforcements to western Mosul as the troops announced starting a 6th phase of operations against Islamic State strongholds in western Mosul.
Last November, al-Hashd al-Shaabi ended a fifth phase of their operations by retaking a military airbase and besieging the strategic IS stronghold town of Tal Afar. But news concerning the militias’ intention to invade the town were conflicting.
Since operations to retake Mosul launched in October, Iraqi forces, backed by an aerial cover from a US-led military coalition, have become in control over nearly 50 out of 84 districts in eastern Mosul, and commanders declared earlier this week they had reached the eastern bank of the Tigris River, which bisects the city. IS still maintains strongholds in the west.
Iraqi military media have put the number of IS militants killed since the launch of operations in October at at least 1757.
The conflict in Mosul has forced more than 173.000 civilians to flee homes in the city.