Iraqi forces targeting Mosul bridge during the fresh Mosul assault

Iraqi forces targeting Mosul bridge during the fresh Mosul assault

An Iraqi soldier carries his weapon on his shoulder during an operation against Islamic State militants in the neighbourhood of Intisar, eastern Mosul, Iraq, December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
An Iraqi soldier carries his weapon on his shoulder during an operation against Islamic State militants in the neighbourhood of Intisar, eastern Mosul, Iraq, December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Baghdad: The Iraqi forces are targeting a bridge in the city across the Tigris river on Tuesday by advancing from the southeast of Mosul, the battle to retake Mosul has now been going on for seven weeks and Iraqi forces have made substantial progress with the help of allied forces.

According to reports by international news agencies, Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah told the Iraqi national television that Iraqi soldiers had entered Salam Hospital which is approximately a mile away from the Tigris river.

Reportedly the assault was launched at 6am on Tuesday and the main objective of this assault is to capture the fourth major bridge of Mosul which is located in the southernmost part of the Tigris river which divides the city into two parts.

Almost all the five bridges have been attacked by air strikes from United States which destroyed the bridges so that the so-called Islamic State could not receive reinforcements, these air strikes also prevent them from sending suicide car bombers to attack the counter-terrorism troops on the eastern front.

But the extremist groups have immediately started working on the damage of the bridges.

Reuters has quoted a local taxi driver who said, “I saw Daesh ,(ISIS) using bulldozers to fill the craters with sand and by midday vehicles managed to cross the bridge normally. I drove my car to the other side of the bridge and saw also Daesh(ISIS) vehicles crossing.”

Mosul is the second largest city of Iraq and it is the largest city under the control of the so-called Islamic State since 2014. A large force of 100,000 consisting of Iraqi soldiers and security forces, Shia militias and the Kurdish Peshmerga began a final offensive in order to retake Mosul from ISIS on October 17.

The United States is providing air and ground support in what is considered as the toughest battle by the Iraqi forces which has made several advances in the eastern part of the country. The so-called Islamic State has retaliated with suicide attacks, snipers and mortar barrages.

At the beginning of the operation there were reports of almost 9,000 IS fighters in Mosul, but recent information suggests that the number has dropped to 3,000 to 5,000 and the quality of the fighters has also gone down considerably.

The Iraqi forces have also suffered a lot of casualties, almost 2,000 Iraqi soldiers lost their lives in November, other than the soldiers 900 policemen and civilians were also killed.

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