World Media

Iraqi forces storm Mosul govt. complex, weather fierce IS counterattacks

Iraqi forces storm Mosul govt. complex, weather fierce IS counterattacks

Iraqi forces have recaptured a government complex in western Mosul from Islamic State fighters. "The (Iraqi) forces there are surrounded, the Humvees cannot reach them, nor can the ambulances".

Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris on February 19.

The militants have barricaded streets with civilian vehicles and rigged them with explosives to hinder the advance of Iraqi forces who were also met with sniper, machinegun and mortar fire, as well as explosives dropped from drones.

The wave of heavy resistance comes as Iraqi forces launched attacks against Isis-held neighbourhoods in western Mosul from three points yesterday morning.

"We control the western end of the bridge", said a media officer with Rapid Response, the elite unit of the Interior Ministry leading the charge towards the complex.

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Government forces, backed with airstrikes and expertise from a US -led coalition, have faced fierce resistance as militants have used hundreds of auto bombs, armed drones and roadside bombs to hold on to their de facto capital in Iraq.

The battles in southwestern part of the western side of Mosul resulted in the killing of many IS militants and the destruction of four auto bombs and 25 explosive devices planted by IS militants, according to the statement.

Private broadcaster Al-Mayadeen aired live footage from inside western Mosul, with thick black smoke rising from different areas as gunfire rattled.

The footage also shows the city's iconic 840-year-old "Crooked Minaret", which leans somewhat like Italy's Tower of Pisa.

The push on Mosul's west was launched about two weeks ago after the eastern half of the city was declared "fully liberated" in January.

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The IOM figures indicate the number of people who came from west Mosul to sites for the displaced from February 25, when the arrivals began, through Sunday.

The troops expect to encounter far more fleeing civilians once they enter deeper into the more densely populated part of the city.

On Feb. 19, Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul.

Also last week, 12 Mosul residents, inlcuding five children, were treated for injuries from a suspected chemical attack, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Isis overran almost a third of Iraq - including Mosul the country's second largest city - in the summer of 2014.

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