Iraqi elite forces' breakthrough allows for new Mosul push

Iraqi elite forces' breakthrough allows for new Mosul push
2 min read
03 December, 2016
Iraqi soldiers took four villages between Bashiqa and Mosul on Saturday, in a move set to clear way for Iraqi forces to enter the city from the northeast.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake Mosul [AFP]
Iraqi army forces retook four villages from Islamic State group militants north-east of the city of Mosul on Saturday, the Joint Operations Command said.

The recapture by the army's 16th division of the villages between Bashiqa and Mosul clears the way for further Iraqi troops to enter the city from the northeast.

"The army's 16th division liberated four villages on the northern front... and raised the Iraqi flag on buildings after defeating the enemy," a statement said.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to retake Mosul, the militants' last major bastion in Iraq, on 17 October.

The main push has come from the east, where elite forces from the Counter-Terrorism Service have captured several neighbourhoods from IS.

The militant group has resorted to suicide bombings in retaliation.

Dozens of civilians were killed by a tanker blast on Saturday in the newly-captured Qadisiyah neighbourhood east of Mosul.

Local sources said a suicide bomber detonated a booby-trapped tanker, blowing himself up and killing at least 24 civilians, including women and children.

Dozens more were injured in the attack.

Before operations began in Mosul Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had expressed hope that the city could be recaptured by the end of the year, but the battle is now expected to stretch into the new year.

Around 100,000 Iraqi army forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, and Shia militia members are taking part in current assaults on Mosul. Approximately 4,500 foreign troops are said to have been involved in training Iraqi troops and planning for the operation.

Agencies contributed to this report.