Iraqi troops seize main bridge, advance on mosque in battle for Mosul

Iraqi troops seize main bridge, advance on mosque in battle for Mosul

Major General Maan al-Saadi says Iraqi security forces now control more than one-third of western Mosul after about a month of fighting there.

So it is a matter of time right now before ISIS is totally defeated, but I do not want to understate the very hard fight that lies ahead and nobody can put a timeframe on how long will this take, but the Iraqi security forces will complete this mission.

"They use the cloud and the rain to launch attacks, and it stops any advances by us", said Sergeant Ali Abu Hamra of the Rapid Response, an elite interior ministry force.

"We are still moving toward the Iron Bridge".

The capture of the Iron Bridge means that Iraqi forces hold three of the five bridges in Mosul that span the Tigris, all of which have been damaged by US-led airstrikes. Tens of thousands have been pouring into camps outside Mosul.

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A tank of Iraqi rapid response forces fires against Islamic State militants at the Bab al-Tob area in Mosul on Monday.

There has been a steady stream of people trudging out of western districts.

Soldiers packed them into trucks on the Mosul-Baghdad highway to be taken to processing areas.

Soldiers from the 9th Armored Division scored an important victory on Saturday night when they cut the last road out of west Mosul, said Brett McGurk, the USA envoy to the worldwide anti-IS coalition.

"Daesh wanted us to move to their areas but we escaped when the army arrived", he said.

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"Unless there is a political process that restores confidence of Sunnis in the state.in a post-Daesh phase there may emerge more organizations of terrorists that are even more extreme than Daesh", he said.

More than 65,000 of them fled their homes over the past two weeks, the organisation said.

Until the latest phase of the battle to take western Mosul, the campaign had gone well with lower-than-expected civilian losses, Khanjar said crediting the professionalism of the USA trained elite forces. "We are facing stiff resistance from Daesh fighters with snipers and mortars", an Iraqi official said.

The rights group said that the makeshift prisons were under the authority of the interior ministry intelligence service, which is interrogating people handed over by security forces fighting IS. "There are more people on this side of the city and people are trying to leave because there is no food and no supplies in their area".

He also financed local tribal Sunni groups that fought Islamic State when it first emerged in strength in Iraq.

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Losing the city would be a huge blow to IS as it has served as the group's de facto capital since its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself - from the Grand Mosque - head of a caliphate covering Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014.

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