Iraqi forces claim key Mosul base, eye victory against 'IS'

Iraqi forces, backed by coalition forces and USA air support, pushed into Mosul's western Mamun neighborhood on Friday, where they were immediately met with intense gunfire from ISIS militants.

The air strikes coincided with Iraq's ground forces pushing deeper into the western half of Mosul and reaching the first residential districts.

The Iraqi popular forces, also known as Hashd al-Sha'abi, said that their forces bombarded a gathering of ISIL militants West of al Jahaf village, saying they were planning an attack against PMF troops, Iraqi News reported.

Similarly intense counterattacks followed pushes on the other fronts.

Al-Maturi said IS militants deployed at least 10 suicide auto bombs, but nine of them were blown up before reaching their targets.

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Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer, told RT that the battle for west Mosul is likely to bring a great number of casualties, both among civilians and soldiers. "It'll be street fights".

He said some fighters had been wounded, however, including by the weaponised drones ISIS has increasingly resorted to in recent weeks.

A floating bridge assembled with U.S. assistance over the Euphrates River was considered a turning point in the battle that eventually saw Iraqi forces retake the western city of Ramadi from ISIL a year ago.

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford says that the Pentagon is considering a "long-term commitment" to operations in Iraq, intending to keep troops in the country after the ISIS war, with an eye toward keeping Iraq's military propped up.

On Friday, Iraqi forces reportedly captured the Mosul airport, which Baghdad seeks to convert into a close-support base for their ongoing anti-Daesh offensive in western Mosul.

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"We could hear their voices outside and 15 minutes later they were gone", he said.

The CTS special forces entered in the adjacent neighborhood of Wadi Hajar and are fighting fierce clashes with the IS militants inside the neighborhood, the JOC said earlier in a statement.

The new offensive comes after government forces and their allies finished clearing ISIS from eastern Mosul last month, confining the insurgents to the western sector of the city, which is bisected by the Tigris river.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday that Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have fully liberated al-Yarmouk power station in Western Mosul.

The United Nations estimates from 650,000 to 750,000 civilians are in Mosul amid a humanitarian crisis in which shortages of food, water and fuel are widespread.

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Resistance around western Mosul is "moderate", Davis said, with the terrorists using improvised explosive devices and indirect fire to "harass and slow down" Iraqi forces.


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