Iraq News

Iraqi forces break into west Mosul

Iraqi forces on Friday (February 24th) entered a west Mosul neighbourhood for the first time since the October launch of a massive offensive to retake the city from the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL).

The push on al-Maamun, a small neighbourhood on the south-western edge of Mosul, came after government troops retook the airport, which commands access to the city from the south, and a nearby military base.

"We have attacked and fully control Ghazlani base, we have also taken Tal al-Rayyan... and we are attacking al-Maamun neighbourhood," said Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridhi, with the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS).

He told AFP near the front line that ISIL fighters attacked his forces with a suicide car bomb in Tal al-Rayyan, a village just outside Mosul, and that three other car bombs were found there.

The CTS has suffered no losses since the renewed push on west Mosul was launched on Sunday, al-Aridhi said.

Some fighters have been wounded, however, including by the weaponised drones ISIL has increasingly resorted to in recent weeks, he added.

"I can confirm that the airport is fully liberated," said Brig. Gen. Abbas al-Juburi, of the interior ministry's elite Rapid Response units that led the assault.

ISIL fighters offered limited resistance at the airport and the nearby Ghazlani base, open and uninhabited areas that are difficult for them to defend in the face of the huge firepower deployed by Baghdad and the coalition.

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