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Iraqi Forces Advance in Mosul

Iraqi soldiers in Mosul (File Photo)Iraqi soldiers in Mosul (File Photo)

Iraqi forces have taken another step toward wresting Mosul away from the clutches of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

Security forces have launched a large-scale military operation to take the remaining neighborhoods under IS control in western Mosul, the country’s Joint Operation Command said.

Soldiers are storming the Shifa neighborhood and al-Jamhouri Hospital. Iraqi counterterrorism forces are advancing on the al-Saha al-Awla neighborhood, the command said.

“Police, counterterrorism and army units started storming the al-Zanjili District and headed toward the Old City,” said federal police head, Lt. Gen. Ra’ed Shaker Jawdat, CNN reported.

The Old City is also still controlled by IS and authorities hope to close in on that neighborhood with their new offensive, police said. The area will pose a challenge because of its narrow streets and IS’ use of residents as human shields. Police units south and north of the Old City shelled IS targets and headquarters in preparation to storm the neighborhood, police said Friday.

Along with the Old City, other neighborhoods under IS control include al-Zinjili, al-Shifa, al-Saha al-Awla, Ras al-Kour, and Bab Sinjar.

Once Iraqi forces take back the occupied neighborhoods, the Iraqi government will announce the liberation of Mosul from IS, the Joint Operation Command said.

The fighting has caused significant displacement. The Iraqi government said more than 742,000 people have left Mosul and surrounding areas since the offensive began.

The United Nations migration agency warned on Friday that the number of people fleeing western Mosul is soaring.

People lack access to clean water and medicine, and many have limited access to food, said UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien. He also expressed deep concern for the safety of civilians behind IS lines in western Mosul.

“Although the UN is not present in the areas where fighting is occurring, we have received very disturbing reports of families being shut inside booby-trapped homes and of children being deliberately targeted by snipers,” he said.

 

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