Iraqi forces enter western Mosul after taking control of airport from IS

Iraqi forces enter western Mosul after taking control of airport from IS

Iraqi forces have pushed into the first neighbourhood in western Mosul and taken full control of the international airport on the city's south-western edge from the Islamic State group, Iraqi officials said.

The gains mark the first key moves in the battle, now in its sixth day, to rout IS militants from the western half of the city of Mosul, the extremists' last urban stronghold in Iraq.

The push by Iraqi forces into Mosul's western Mamun neighbourhood was followed by intense clashes with IS militants, according to an Iraqi special forces officer on the ground.

An Associated Press team near the front line saw at least four wounded special forces members and the bodies of three soldiers, suggesting more intense fighting than the previous day.

Earlier on Friday, the spokesman of the Joint Military Operation Command, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, said Iraqi forces had also retaken a sprawling military base adjacent to the airport.

The advances come a day after special forces joined the fight.

Both the sprawling Ghazlani military base and the airport will be key to the next steps in the daunting battle and will serve as a base of operations as Iraqi forces launch subsequent pushes into western Mosul, which is divided by the Tigris River into two halves.

Iraqi authorities declared the city's eastern half "fully liberated" from the Sunni militants in January, three months after launching the operation to take back Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

On Thursday, Iraqi special forces joined federal police and rapid response units in the push while the Popular Mobilisation Forces - an umbrella group of government-sanctioned Shiite militias - secured the main roads west of Mosul, largely cutting the city off from IS-held territory in Syria.

Iraqi forces enter western Mosul after taking control of airport from IS

The United Nations estimated that about 750,000 civilians are trapped in western Mosul.

The initial numbers of displaced from western Mosul have been low, but Iraqi forces are yet to punch into the city's dense urban neighbourhoods.

The battle for western Mosul is expected to be the most trying yet. The western half of the city is denser with older neighbourhoods and narrower streets that will likely complicate the already difficult urban combat ahead.

PA

More on this topic

Ex-girlfriend of footballer jailed for terror fundraisingEx-girlfriend of footballer jailed for terror fundraising

David Lewis and Ryan McNeill: Extremist groups strike gold in Africa’s SahelDavid Lewis and Ryan McNeill: Extremist groups strike gold in Africa’s Sahel

Terror suspect held at Heathrow after Turkey deports British IS suspectTerror suspect held at Heathrow after Turkey deports British IS suspect

Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza attackIsrael kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza attack

More in this Section

Coronavirus lockdown exit strategies mulled by world governmentsCoronavirus lockdown exit strategies mulled by world governments

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘improving’ and ‘sitting up in intensive care bed’ with Covid-19UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ‘improving’ and ‘sitting up in intensive care bed’ with Covid-19

Syrian air force responsible for chemical attacks, says watchdogSyrian air force responsible for chemical attacks, says watchdog

WHO chief says politicisation of Covid-19 will lead to ‘more body bags’WHO chief says politicisation of Covid-19 will lead to ‘more body bags’


Lifestyle

Junior Cert and Leaving Cert students mustn’t be forced to go through the motions with state exams, and we need creative thinking to find alternatives fast, writes mother and educator Ellie O’Byrne.Policy fail? Insistence that state exams go ahead in June is glib and ignorant

Yes, we all need to stay at home but that doesn't mean your children have to be bored, says Michelle McGlynnWorld of wonder: What to do with the children outdoors

Over the next three weeks, I am going to outline how you can support yourself and your family over this period of lockdown, writes Richard Hogan.Learning Points: Keeping children on a healthy and happy regime

As we are settling into our new routines of self isolation, staying at home and home schooling it feels that a whole new set of pressures is coming down the tracks.Mum's The Word: Pressure to be productive in a world of online classes

More From The Irish Examiner