UPDATED: Iraqi forces recapture several govt facilities in western Mosul

Military vehicles of federal police are seen during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani – RTS11N8V

Nineveh ( Iraqi forces recaptured more government facilities and a district in western Mosul on Monday as they pushed closer to the Old City to clear the district from Islamic State militants.

The Federal Police command said in a statement that the service, aided by the Rapid Response forces, took over the water and sewage department’s offices in western Mosul’s district of Dindan, raising the Iraqi flags above the facility. It added that the forces also recaptured the “police directorate and the courts complex”.

Other news reports quoted security sources saying that the troops also took over Dour al-Sukar district in the south.

Earlier on Monday, Iraqi forces recaptured recaptured al-Sumoud district before storming the nearby al-Mansour, all near the city center.

Old Mosul is a major target for U.S.-backed Iraqi forces seeking to clear the western side of the city from militants. It is home of a government compound, the recapture of which is believed to be highly decisive in ending the campaign in the government forces’ favor.

Shortly earlier, news reports quoted security officials saying the forces took over al-Hurriya, major bridge leading to the Old City.

Mosul fell to IS militants in 2014, and had been proclaimed as the capital of the group’s “Islamic Caliphate” before Iraqi forces retook the eastern part late January.

Iraqi and coalition generals had predicted the city to be retaken within six months from the start of the operations in the west.

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