Iraqi forces capture two west Mosul neighborhoods, key bridge

Tracy FergusonFeb 28, 2017

Aid agencies estimate that there are approximately 750,000 civilians trapped in western Mosul, unable or too frightened to leave despite the very real prospect of a prolonged, intense battle over the city between Iraqi government forces and IS fighters. That figure includes recently cleared eastern Mosul, he said.

The bridge the military secured on Monday is the southernmost of five spanning the Tigris River.

Federal Police elite units are also clearing the remaining pockets of resistance in western Mosul's al-Tayaran neighborhood, just north of the Mosul International Airport runway. "Where's the security when these machines are hovering over people and killing us?"

Iraqi government forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units - better known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha'abi - managed to liberate the eastern quarter of Mosul from the clutches of Daesh terrorists in January, three months after launching the operation to regain control of the country's second-largest city. It said, "the USA -backed Coalition has been focused only on eliminating ISIS, not other insurgent groups or the conditions that grow them".

The Pentagon has issued a directive that officials now use the more common term ISIS to refer to the terror group.

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An Iraqi female reporter, Shifa Gardi, was killed Saturday when a roadside bomb exploded as she was covering the clashes in west Mosul, her channel said.

Meanwhile, colleagues have paid tribute to a Kurdish journalist who was killed by a road side bomb while she was reporting on the battle to recapture Mosul.

Maj Gen Al-Maturi said Isil militants deployed at least 10 suicide auto bombs, but nine of them were blown up before reaching their targets.

The coalition forces have already entered western Mosul from the south and the west.

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A former Iraqi army lieutenant colonel and specialist in land-attack missiles, who used the nickname Abu Karim fearing for the safety of his family, spoke to The Associated Press by phone, describing a "deteriorating security and humanitarian situation" inside western Mosul.

American and Iraqi generals say the fighting will be "house-to-house" in buildings where IS militants have deliberately placed themselves among the civilian population and in which they have constructed an elaborate network of tunnels to move themselves and their weapons. A lack of power is making it hard to charge cell phones, with many people relying on generators for electricity at the same time fuel prices are rising. The power station provides electricity to Mosul.

"The [Iraqis] have captured villages to the west of Mosul and they have penetrated the formal city limits from the south", he said, adding, "We've seen some encouraging initial successes".

The plan to push so many troops into the city from several different angles is meant to force ISIS into choosing where it can fight and what positions to abandon, the official said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday promised that Iraqi forces would do all they could to keep civilians safe.

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