Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces Announce Liberation Of Eastern Mosul
Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces have announced the complete liberation of eastern Mosul – the left bank of the Tigris River – from Islamic State (ISIS).
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had said on Tuesday that Iraqi forces were close to securing eastern Mosul from ISIS, saying “movements” against ISIS in the west of Mosul had already begun without specifying what action was being taken there.
“Nineveh is a big province and the head of the snake is there,” Abadi added.
Fighting has intensified since the turn of the year as Iraqi forces have renewed an offensive against the ultra-hardline militants. Troops had got bogged down in late November and December after entering Mosul as ISIS fighters fought back with car bombs and snipers, and concealed themselves among a civilian population of up to 1.5 million.
The loss of Mosul would probably spell the end of the Iraqi side of ISIS’ self-styled caliphate, which its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from a Mosul mosque as the militants swept through vast areas of Syria and Iraq in 2014.
The group has carried out a series of attacks elsewhere in Iraq as it comes under increasing pressure in its stronghold.