us train iraqi military forces on connecting floating bridges
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
Arab Today, arab today

CTS leader aims to liberate Mosul within a month

US train Iraqi military forces on connecting floating bridges

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today US train Iraqi military forces on connecting floating bridges

US experts train Iraqi military forces
Baghdad - Naglaa El-Taiee

Iraqi forces aim to push Islamic State militants out of west Mosul within a month, despite intensive combat in densely populated areas, the head of the elite Counter Terrorism Service, Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati, said on Thursday. Meanwhile, Iraqi military forces were training on connecting parts of a floating bridge on the banks of an artificial lake under the supervision of US trainers to acquire new skills in the war against terrorists.
As Iraqi forces advance deeper into west Mosul, they are facing increasingly stiff resistance from Islamic State militants using suicide car bombs and snipers to defend their last major stronghold in Iraq.
Their operation to retake the eastern bank of the city, launched in mid-October with support from a U.S.-led coalition, took more than three months. The offensive to recapture west Mosul got underway less than three weeks ago.
“Despite the tough fighting… we are moving ahead in persistence to finish the battle for the western side within a month,” Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati said at a conference in Sulaimaniya.
The few thousand militants still fighting in west Mosul are overwhelmingly outnumbered by a 100,000-strong array of Iraqi forces, but their ruthless tactics east of the Tigris river late last year enabled them to hold out much longer than the government’s initial optimistic predictions.
Mosul is by far the largest city which Islamic State has held in its cross-border, self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria. It has been losing ground in both countries, with three separate forces, backed by the United States, Turkey and Russia, advancing on its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
In Mosul, CTS forces recaptured the Moalimin and Silo districts on Thursday, according to the commander of the campaign Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah.
Inside the city, CTS are fighting alongside the Federal Police and the elite interior ministry Rapid Response force, which earlier this week recaptured the provincial government headquarters and the Mosul Museum.
“The frontline is just beyond it,” said Lieutenant Colonel Hammeed Habib of the Rapid Response forces. “There are snipers stationed in tall hotel buildings on a road beyond that line”.
The Iraqi army’s ninth division and Shi’ite paramilitary forces said on Wednesday they had cut the main road between the city and the Islamic State stronghold of Tal Afar to the west, tightening a noose around the city.
There is little doubt Iraqi forces will eventually prevail over the militants, who are both outnumbered and overpowered, but even if it loses Mosul, Islamic State is expected to revert to their insurgent tactics.
On Wednesday, bomb blasts ripped through a wedding party near Tikrit, which was recaptured by Iraqi forces in 2015, killing more than 20 people.
The jihadist group has lost most of the cities it captured in northern and western Iraq in 2014 and 2015.
In Mosul, civilians are fleeing in greater number as the fighting approaches the densely populated old city, causing alarm that the camps for displaced people are nearly full .
About 40,000 people have fled the fighting and hardship in the past 10 days, bringing the total number of people displaced from Mosul since campaign started to more than 215,000, according to United Nations estimates.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the population to stay in their homes, at the same time urging humanitarian organisations and government agencies to step up efforts to help the tens of thousands who fled.
It was from the Mosul old city’s grand al-Nuri Mosque that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his “caliphate” nearly three years go.
Baghdadi, an Iraqi whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, has left operational commanders to fight in the city, moving in a remote, mostly desert stretch, trying to evade surveillance, according to U.S. and Iraqi official

 

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