Iraqi Forces Liberate Western Mosul Neighborhood, Kill Isis Leader’s First Aide
Iraqi security forces regained control of a neighborhood in western Mosul as forces continued their operation to liberate the entire city from Islamic State (ISIS) militants.
Nineveh Operation commander Abdulla Yaralla said the neighborhood of Sawra was liberated in the western side of Mosul on Thursday morning (April 20).
Iraqi federal police commander, Shakir Jawdat, also said that the ISIS leader’s first aide, Abu Abdulrahman, and four other militants, had been killed after an ISIS headquarters was shelled by artillery in the neighborhood of Az-Zanjili.
According to a statement released by Iraq’s Military Intelligence Directorate, a Coalition strike has also killed ISIS’ head of intelligence, Ahmed Khalid Najim known as Abu Obeida, in Tayaran neighborhood.
Iraqi forces are making progress in their offensive to expel ISIS from Mosul but face a complicated urban battle as the militants hide in mosques, homes and hospitals, sheltering among civilians in the city in order to evade airstrikes.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi paid a visit to the western half of Mosul on Wednesday (April 19), and met with commanders there.
Abadi told reporters that he got acquainted with the process of the battle currently raging in western Mosul.
The PM confirmed the necessity of speeding up the liberation of the city from ISIS militants as they continue to use civilians as human shields.
The war between ISIS and Iraqi forces is taking a heavy toll on several hundred thousand civilians trapped inside the city, with severely malnourished babies reaching hospitals in government-held areas.
The operation to regain full control of Mosul from ISIS militants began on October 17 last year.
Iraqi forces liberated the eastern side of Mosul in February and continue the operation to regain the western side.