Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) recaptured on Monday the last village on the road between western Mosul and the strategic town of Tal Afar from Islamic State militants.
The force’s media service said it took over the village of Sahaji, effectively cutting out the last road linking IS stronghold of Tal Afar with western Mosul. The outlet said earlier on Monday that 23 militants were killed in a PMU bombardment near Tal Afar.
Also on Monday, Federal Police service said in a statement the forces killed nine Islamic State militants, defused four explosive barrels and seized 50 projectiles belonging to the group while advancing to Al-Bouseif hills.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a brief announcement 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”.
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.