Iraqi Forces Advance in Northwest Mosul

Iraqi Forces Advance in Northwest MosulIraqi Forces Advance in Northwest Mosul

Iraqi forces moved further into Mosul from the north on the second day of a new push to speed up the nearly seven-month attempt to dislodge the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, commanders said on Friday. Footage taken by a drone operated by the Iraqi 9th Armored Division over the northwestern suburb of Musherfa and seen by Reuters, showed the militants had scant defenses there, unlike in other parts of Mosul where streets are blocked by anti-tank barriers and vehicles.

"IS tried to block the troops' northerly advance into their de facto Iraqi capital with suicide car bombs and sniper fire," Brigadier General Walid Khalifa, deputy commander of the 9th brigade, told Reuters in Hulayla, west of Musherfa. "His troops had killed about 30 militants and destroyed five car bombs before they could be used against them," he said. US air support has proved vital for spotting suicide car bombs and for avoiding targets where civilians are trapped.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for the joint operations command, said militants "didn't have time to make barriers, the advance since yesterday has been good".

Iraqi forces' new foothold aims to open escape routes for the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped behind IS lines and, in turn, help troops' progress.

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