Iraqi forces free 2 neighborhoods from IS in western Mosul

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DUSHANBE, 14.03.2017. /NIAT Khovar/. Iraqi forces on Monday liberated two neighborhoods from the Islamic State (IS, banned in Tajikistan) militants in the western side of Mosul, while the troops continued fighting fierce urban warfare in the old city center, Xinhua news agency reports citing the Iraqi military.

The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) completely freed the neighborhoods of Nafet and New Mosul in the western side of the city, locally known as the right bank of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul, the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

The recapture of the two neighborhoods brought the CTS troops closer to the western edge of Mosul's densely populated old city center, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed to still be trapped under IS rule.

Also in the day, the federal police and Rapid Response brigades, the elite Interior Ministry units, are conducting clearing operations in the newly-freed Bab al-Toub neighborhood and adjacent areas from booby-trapped buildings, mines and terrorists hiding among the residents, a security source reported on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive on Feb. 19 to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul.

Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul, or the left bank of Tigris, after more than 100 days of fighting against IS militants.

Mosul, 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan