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Iraq: Army announces fresh gains in Daesh-held Mosul

20th Jan 2017
Iraq: Army announces fresh gains in Daesh-held Mosul

By Ibrahim Saleh, Serhad Shakir and Mohamed Walid

 

BAGHDAD/NINEVEH, Iraq (AA): Iraqi army forces on Thursday captured a military facility and a presidential palace in Iraq’s northern Daesh-held city of Mosul, Iraqi army sources told Anadolu Agency.

“Forces from the army’s 15th Division have liberated the Jaber Ibn Hayyan [military] facility,” Capt. Tariq Jabir al-Khadir said.

Located north of Mosul near the Al-Rashidiya district, the facility had been used for military manufacturing under former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

According to al-Khadir, Iraqi anti-terrorism forces also captured a presidential palace complex located on the bank of the Tigris River, which runs through the city.

The latest gains by the army come as part of an ongoing military campaign aimed at capturing Daesh-held neighborhoods in eastern Mosul.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter lauded Iraqi forces on their advance as they “managed to secure all critical areas in eastern Mosul,” he said. “As they now prepare to clear the western part of Mosul, I’m confident that ISIL’s days in Mosul are numbered.”

Small “pockets of resistance” remain in the east, but the Pentagon chief said the U.S. is “seeing what increasingly appears to be ISIL’s retreat from east Mosul”.

Also on Thursday, Iraq’s Anti-Terrorism Agency — which operates under the Iraqi Defense Ministry — announced the capture of Mosul’s Nineveh Oberoi Hotel.

“Our forces successfully captured the hotel, located near Mosul’s northern Ghabat district,” Staff Lieutenant-General Abdulwahab al-Saedi, a counterterrorism commander, told Anadolu Agency.

Mosul’s 11-story Nineveh Oberoi Hotel is the largest hotel in the northern Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the provincial capital.

On the same day, Iraqi forces — backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes — also captured northern Mosul’s Tel Kaif district, Army Lieutenant Samir Dawood told Anadolu Agency.

This, said Dawood, had taken place only hours after the army’s first and ninth divisions entered the town of Tel Kaif, located some 25 kilometers north of Mosul.

According to the army officer, the Iraqi flag was hoisted over government buildings in the area after the army inflicted major losses — both human and material — on the militants.

Last October, the Iraqi army, backed by the U.S.-led air coalition and local allies on the ground, began a wide-ranging campaign to retake Mosul, which Daesh overran in mid-2014.

* Anadolu Agency Washington Correspondent Michael Hernandez contributed to this report

[Photo: A general view of damaged Mosque of the Prophet Yunus after it has been rescued from Daesh by Iraqi Army in Mosul, Iraq on January 19, 2017. Photgrapher: Muhabiri Cemal Bedrani/AA]

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

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