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Iraqi forces recapture 'over a third' of west Mosul

Iraqi forces launched an operation to capture western Mosul on February 19 [AFP]

Date of publication: 12 March, 2017

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Iraqi troops penetrated deeper into the western bank of Mosul, a commander said on Sunday, after weeks of battling the Islamic State group in its Iraqi stronghold.

Iraqi security forces recaptured control of more than a third of west Mosul from the Islamic State group since launching an assault on the area last month, a commander said on Sunday.

Troops penetrated deeper into the western bank of the city after weeks of battling the militant group.

"Around more than a third of the right bank (west Mosul) is under the control of our units," Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi told AFP.

Mosul is split by the Tigris River, and its eastern side is referred to as the left bank, while the western is known as the right bank.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake west Mosul - the most densely populated urban area still under IS control - on 19 February, pushing up from the south.

On Saturday, Iraq's pro-government Hashd al-Shaabi militia discovered a mass grave in Badush prison near the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The grave reportedly contains the remains of hundreds of people executed by the Islamic State group.

The pro-government paramilitary organisation said it had found "a large mass grave containing the remains of around 500 civilian prisoners in (Badush) prison who were executed by (IS) gangs".

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes and other support have since retaken most of the territory they lost.

Iraqi forces launched a major operation to retake the entire Mosul city in October, recapturing the eastern side before setting their sights on the smaller but more densely-populated west.


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