Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd division run to take up positions as forces engage Islamic State fighters pushing through the Samah area and into the Arbagiah neighbourhood of Mosul on November 11, 2016. The army will retake east Mosul in a few days. PHOTO | AFP
Iraqi forces will recapture east Mosul from the Islamic State group within "a few days", a senior officer said on Monday.
Baghdad's forces have retaken a series of areas in eastern Mosul since launching an operation to recapture the city on October 17, but the west remains under IS control.
East Mosul will be retaken within "a few days, God willing", Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a top commander in Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service, told AFP.
Assadi's remarks came a day after officials said Iraqi forces in Mosul had reached the eastern side of a bridge across the Tigris River, which divides the city, for the first time during the operation.
Assadi said that "the bridge fell tactically", though Iraqi forces were still some 150 metres (yards) away.
The general also said that "our units... are close to encircling Mosul University", whose sprawling campus is located east of the Tigris.
IS overran Mosul and swathes of other territory north and west of Baghdad in 2014, sweeping aside security forces that were ill-prepared to face the assault.
Iraqi forces have since regained much of the territory they lost, and Mosul is now the country's last city in which the jihadists hold significant ground.