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Iraqi forces reach second Mosul Bridge, seize main university Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iraqi forces reach second Mosul Bridge, seize main university

Iraqi forces are now in control of most of eastern Mosul [AFP]

Date of publication: 13 January, 2017

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Iraqi special forces pushed forward to reach a second bridge that links eastern Mosul to the city's west, while forces in the city's northeast capture Mosul university area.
Iraq's special forces reached a second bridge linking eastern Mosul to the city's west, which is still under Islamic State [IS] control, a military statement said on Friday, as ground troops seized the strategic Mosul University area.

Elite counter-terrorism service [CTS] units reached the southern second bridge, also known as Freedom Bridge, one of five running across the river that divides Mosul's north and south.

Iraqi forces are now in control of most of eastern Mosul, while assaults on the west, which is still under full IS control, will begin after they secure the east bank of the Tigris.

In Mosul's northeast, CTS forces entered the Mosul University on Friday, a tactical achievement and an incremental step in driving out IS from the city.

The troops entered the university grounds in the morning hours and managed to secure parts of the compound, according to two officers, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to reporters.

"IS militants were surprised by the intensity of the attacks as well as the heavy bombardment on their positions, which forced them to withdraw towards the river, allowing the army to advance and seize important areas," an Iraqi army officer told The New Arab.

The sprawling university compound, a symbolic landmark in Iraq's second-largest city, was once used by IS militants as a base.

Iraqi officials had said that the militants also used the school's chemistry labs to produce chemical weapons.

Friday's developments come a day after Iraqi army forces north of the city linked up with troops pushing in from the city's eastern edge.

Earlier this month Iraqi forces retook a hospital that had been converted into an IS base.

As the Mosul operation enters its fourth month, Iraqi forces have retaken about a third of the city that has been under tight IS control for more than two years.

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