Iraqi general says 70 percent of east Mosul retaken from IS

January 5, 2017

MOSUL: Iraqi forces have retaken around 70 percent of eastern Mosul from Islamic State militants and expect to reach the river bisecting the city in the coming days, Iraq’s joint operations commander told Reuters. Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati, who is also head of the elite counter-terrorism service (CTS) spearheading the campaign to retake the northern city, said the cooperation of residents was helping them advance against Islamic State. In its 12th week, the offensive has gained momentum since Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition renewed their push for the city a week ago, clearing several more eastern districts despite fierce resistance. “Roughly 65-70 percent of the eastern side has been liberated,” Shaghati said in an interview late on Wednesday in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. “I think in the coming few days we will see the full liberation of the eastern side”. The western half of the city remains under the full control of Islamic State, which is fighting to hold on to its largest urban stronghold with snipers and suicide car bombs numbering “in the hundreds” according to Shaghati. The Mosul assault, involving a 100,000-strong ground force of Iraqi government troops, members of the autonomous Kurdish security forces and mainly Shi’ite militiamen, is the most complex battle in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Agencies