Mosul – As the battle to liberate Mosul continued on Thursday, head of Iraq’s counterterrorism service CTS, Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati said that Iraqi forces are persistent to oust ISIS militants from the entire city of Mosul within a month, despite facing tough fighting in densely populated areas.
“Despite the tough fighting… we are moving ahead in persistence to finish the battle for the western side within a month,” Shaghati told Reuters at a conference in Sulaimaniya.
While Iraqi Forces shelled on Thursday ISIS positions and movements in the old city of central Mosul, Chief Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat, commander of Iraqi Federal Police Forces told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The artillery and remotely piloted aircrafts of the Federal Police Forces targeted on Thursday ISIS explosive tires and defense mechanisms.”
Jawdat added that his troops were helping civilians trapped under the rubbles of their homes, which terrorists had detonated before escaping the area of Bab al-Toub.
Also, Iraqi Forces on Thursday liberated the two neighborhoods of the Moalimin and Silo districts in the right bank of Mosul, the commander of the campaign Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah said.
As the Iraqi Forces infiltrate in the western part of Mosul, they face a fierce confrontation with ISIS militants, who are using suicide car bombs and snipers to defend their last major stronghold in Iraq.
Reuters said 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.
The operation to retake the eastern bank of the city was launched in mid-October with support from a U.S.-led coalition, and had taken more than three months.
Meanwhile, 26 people were killed and 25 others were injured when a suicide bomber targeted a wedding party near Tikrit, which was recuperated by Iraqi forces in 2015.
Local sources predicted that the attack was conducted by ISIS militants to take revenge from one of the tribes currently participating in the Iraqi Sahwa (Awakening Movement).