The following is an excerpt from AFP.com | December 29, 2016 |
Iraqi forces advanced Thursday after declaring a new phase in their offensive on eastern Mosul, stepping up efforts to reclaim the Islamic State group's last major stronghold in the country.
Elite forces have reconquered several parts of eastern Mosul since beginning the massive operation to recapture the northern city from the jihadists on October 17, but IS still occupies the city's west.
Security chiefs said several neighbourhoods had been taken, with the bodies of IS fighters seen lying on the streets and drone footage showing others retreating.
Retaking Mosul could effectively end the jihadist group's days as a land-holding force in Iraq and deal a death blow to the "caliphate" IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed in the city in June 2014.
"The second phase of liberating the left bank in Mosul was launched, and our forces began advancing toward Al-Quds neighbourhood," said Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a senior officer in Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service.
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