Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared on Tuesday full liberation of the eastern side of the city of Mosul after more than 100 days of fighting against the extremist militants of the Islamic State.
Abadi, according to Xinhua, urged the security forces to move quickly to liberate all the remaining areas of Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, in particular the western side of the provincial capital city of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River which bisects the city. He made the remarks at a press conference here, praising the “heroic forces and the unity of all Iraqis”.
In addition, a military statement said that the army soldiers fulfilled liberation of eastern Mosul after they swept the remaining areas left in the hand of IS militants in the northern outskirts of the eastern bank of the city.
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The troops, backed by the US-led coalition and Iraqi aircraft, freed the neighbourhood of Rashidiyah and the nearby villages of Ba’wiza, Baysan and Shrikhan after heavy clashes with the IS, leaving dozens of them killed and destroying eight car bombs, according to a statement from the Joint Operations Command.
The troops also killed two suicide bombers, shot down five unmanned drones carrying bombs and destroyed three vehicles carrying heavy machine guns, the statement said.
Experts believe that with the recapture of the whole eastern side of Mosul, the troops will soon begin a new phase of the anti-IS major offensive on the western part of the city.
On October 17, al-Abadi announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. The second phase of the offensive to free the eastern bank of Mosul began on December 29.
Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under the IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq’s northern and western regions.