Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Battles in West Mosul Neighborhoods, ISIS Closes Alleyways | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi and U.S. forces deploy near Mosul’s international airport, in western Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

Mosul- As Iraqi forces entered for the first time two neighborhoods in west Mosul, ISIS responded by quickly advancing towards the downtown, closing alleyways and tightening the grip on civilians to prevent them from escaping to the city’s east side.

Lt. Gen Shaker Jawdat, chief of the federal police said told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday: “The Iraqi Federal police have entered and infiltrated the western district of al-Tayaran, killing 50 terrorists and destroying 25 explosive devices. The police also found 145 projectiles during the liberation of the district.”

Jawdat added: “ISIS terrorists were using gunmen and exploding tires to prevent our advancement, but the snipers of the federal police and the Iraqi Army warplanes are now confronting the enemy’s attacks. Our progress continues.”

This is the first gain for the advancing Iraqi forces in the city since the offensive began six days ago.

Iraqi Security Forces have also liberated the entire Mosul airport Friday morning, and are now advancing towards al-Tayaran district, southern Mosul, Jawdat said.

Also, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, the commander of the Nineveh operations, said in a statement that Iraqi elite Counter Terrorism Service (ICTS) broke into the district of al-Maamun, where it continued its advancement.

Meanwhile, local residents trapped in the city’s west side of the Tigris River told Asharq Al-Awsat Friday in a telephone call that “ISIS had enforced a curfew and had closed all the alleyways in the area, killing any person who tries to leave his house, even if only to buy necessary goods. ISIS was also killing any person who tries to flee the area through the river to the eastern part of the city.”

Abdel Karim Ahmad, al-Zanjili neighborhood resident, said ISIS militants deployed in all alleyways and connected the majority of houses by punching holes in the walls to move undetected.