Iraqi forces reach Tigris in bloody battle for Mosul

Jan 10, 2017, 00:30
Iraqi forces reach Tigris in bloody battle for Mosul

Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) members monitor the sky for drones during a battle against Takfiri Daesh militants in Mosul's al-Rifaq neighborhood on January 8, 2017, as a military operation against the terrorists continues there.

"Speaking to news organisation AFP, Sabah al-Noman, a spokesman, said: "[The CTS forces] reached the Tigris River from the eastern (side) of the fourth bridge.

Additionally, Iraqi rapid response forces took control of Dumiz neighborhood in southeastern Mosul, and hoisted the national flag in the district.

The CTS has spearheaded advances inside Mosul as part of a 100,000 strong force backed by United States air power of Iraqi troops, Kurdish fighters and Shi'ite militias fighting the militants.

It was the first time Iraqi troops in the city itself have reached the river which bisects Mosul since the offensive to drive out ISIS was launched in October. The city is the last major center in Iraq still controlled by "IS". "They remain behind the forward line of troops". In some districts, they are cleaning the roads and rebuilding brick walls.

He said the forces seized the Ghufran district and entered neighboring Wahda.

Most of the building, however, is burned out and parts have been mined with explosives left by the militants. Blood stains cover the wall of one room which soldiers said ISIS had used for executions.

Since New Year's Eve 100 people have been killed in attacks.

Twelve people died in the explosion while another six Iraqis were killed in a second attack at a market in the Baladiyat area.

Islamic State claimed carrying out the first attack in an online statement, saying the bomber had targeted "a gathering of Shi'ites" in Jamila.

They also appear to have ramped up suicide bomb attacks in the capital, where at least 18 people were killed in two separate blasts near markets on Sunday.

Several areas around the city, Iraq's second largest, were swiftly reconquered, but the elite forces that pushed into the streets of Mosul itself have faced stiffer than expected resistance. ISIS has a smaller presence in the area.

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