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ISIS Collapses in East Mosul … Fighting Centers at University | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) carry weapons during clashes with ISIS militants in frontline near university of Mosul, Iraq, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

Mosul- Iraqi Special Forces engaged on Friday in fierce battles with ISIS militants inside the premises of Mosul University northeast of the city, and advanced towards another bridge through the Tigris River, leaving additional collapses in the ranks of the extremist organization.

Reuters reported on Friday that militants were fighting back at Mosul University, which they seized when they took over the city in 2014. A Reuters reporter saw heavy clashes inside the campus.

Major General Sami al-Aridi, a senior counter-terrorism service (CTS) commander, said the university was the most important ISIS base in the eastern half of the city. He said the CTS had taken over a hill overlooking parts of the campus, including the technical college. “Forces are heading into the depths of the university,” al-Aridi said.

Another Iraqi officer said army units backed by air strikes had also taken control of Hadba district, north of the university, and would aid the assault on the complex.

On Friday, bulldozers were used to smash through a wall surrounding the campus as dozens of CTS troops broke in carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

In separate advances further south in the city, the army said in a statement that other CTS units reached the Second Bridge, also called Freedom Bridge, one of the five bridges crossing the Tigris River.

By this development, the Iraqi Forces would have reached two bridges in the south of Mosul after crossing their way to the Forth Bridge few days ago.

Meanwhile, U.S. and Iraqi military officials say ISIS has further damaged at least two bridges to try to hamper an army advance.

Iraqi security officer Zanoun Sabaawi told Germany’s news agency dpa that ISIS militants had burned several buildings in the area as Iraqi forces quickly advanced towards liberating the entire part of the left coast. Sabaawi said most ISIS militants were fleeing through the Tigris River by boats to the right side after thousands of them were killed.

On Friday, Iraqi military sources said that CTS forces were currently targeting ISIS positions, which were controlled by the terrorist organization after families had left the area. The sources said Iraqi forces were quickly advancing and are about to complete liberating the entire residential areas in Mosul.