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Iraqi forces make gains, enter Mosul University

The officers say the troops entered the university grounds morning and secured parts of the compound, located in eastern half of Mosul

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Iraq's special forces have entered the Mosul University on Friday, a tactical achievement in battling ISIS militants for control of the city, Iraqi officers reported.

The officers say the troops entered the university grounds on Friday morning and secured parts of the compound, located in eastern half of Mosul.

The officers spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

The move comes a day after Iraqi army forces north of the city linked up with troops pushing in from the city's eastern edge.

The sprawling university compound, a symbolic landmark in Iraq's second-largest city was once used by ISIS militants as a base. Officials had said the militants also used the school's chemistry labs to produce chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, ISIS militans blew up all of the remaining bridges on the Tigris River in the center of the city, Al Arabiya News channel reported.

Iraqi forces have joined flanks in the north of Mosul and drove back ISIS militants in the southeast of the city, in a renewed attempt that would bring them closer to controlling the eastern half of the city.

The spokesperson of the forces from the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), Sabah al-Numan, said that CTS forces took control of the April 7 and Sadeeq districts, linking up with army troops that had stormed al-Hadba neighborhood.

“This was due to the contact between the troops of the northern front and CTS. It will surely prevent any gap between the axes which the enemy could use,” he said, adding that he enemy is now only located in front of the troops and not at their sides.

CTS leaders in Iraq declared that they controlled most of the left coast of the Tigris River, and managed to contain the movements of ISIS members. The terrorist organization is now maneuvering with drones and mortar shells in the east and southeast of Mosul.

When ISIS lost its ability to impede the progress of the Iraqi forces on the left coast, its members decided to set defensive lines on the other side of the Tigris River to attack the joint forces with mortars and drones.

CTS leader Abdul Wahab al-Saadi announced that the fighting units tightened control on the left coast, and just few members from ISIS divided between snipers and suicide bombers are still there.

He said that the forces are now destroying ISIS drones carrying small bombs, in addition to boats with explosives driven by the organization across the river.

As for the field commanders in the east and southeast of the city, they seemed more confident in eliminating the remaining members of the organization after regaining control over important neighborhoods and main roads linking between the neighborhood and the Tigris River.

The leaders highlighted the intensive spread of their units to limit ISIS movements; ISIS was unable to retain their positions for long because they were targeted from the air and land with massive bombardments. The neighborhoods surrounding the river are no longer under the threat of the organization’s limited maneuvers.

(With AP)