Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State militants liberated on Monday a neighbourhood from the group after heavy clashes in the northern part of western side of Mosul, the Iraqi military said. The special forces of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) freed al-Uraybi neighbourhood and raised the Iraqi flag over some of its buildings after killing many IS militants, Abdul-Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.
The recapture of the neighbourhood came a day after the CTS forces, army and the elite forces of the federal police, known as Rapid Response, initiated a new push into four neighbourhoods, including Uraybi, and managed to defeat the IS defensive lines after fierce street-to-street clashes. The troops are still engaged in heavy fighting in the other three neighbourhoods of Rifai, Iqtisadiyn and July 17 after they seized parts of them.
The troops are now pushing to seize the remaining neighbourhoods in north and northwest of the city centre to tighten noose around the IS redoubt in the neighbourhoods of the old city centre in the western side of Mosul, including old areas around the historical al-Nuri Mosque. Meanwhile, the Iraqi jet fighters carried out an airstrike on a village near the IS-held town of Tal Afar and destroyed three IS vehicles carrying rocket launchers, leaving 12 of them killed, the JOC said in a statement citing intelligence reports.
Mosul, 400 km north of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, has been under the IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq’s northern and western regions.