World

Iraqi forces on the march in Mosul

MOSUL Iraqi forces have retaken more than a third of west Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a commander said, as troops fought yesterday to advance deeper into the city.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to recapture the most populated urban area still under ISIS control on Feb 19, retaking a series of areas as they advanced up from the south.

"Around more than a third of the right bank (west Mosul) is under the control of our units," Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi of the elite Counter-Terrorism Service said.

The terrorists are "still relying on explosives-rigged vehicles and suicide bombers and snipers", Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, said.

He added: "The battle is not easy... we are fighting an irregular enemy who hides among the citizens and uses tactics of booby-trapping, explosions and suicide bombers, and the operation is taking place with precision to preserve the lives of the citizens."

But ISIS resistance "has begun to weaken in a big way".

On Saturday, the Hashed al-Shaabi - an umbrella organisation for paramilitary groups that is dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias - announced the discovery of a large mass grave north-west of Mosul.

It said the grave contained the remains of around 500 people killed by ISIS at the Badush prison, a figure that could not be independently confirmed. - AFP

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