Iraq forces in west Mosul aim for key bridge

2017-02-26 22:06
(Khalid Mohammed, AP)

(Khalid Mohammed, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mosul - Iraqi forces on Sunday battled jihadists in west Mosul, aiming to build a floating bridge across the Tigris to establish an important supply route linked to the recaptured east bank.

A week into a major push on the western side of the city, where an estimated 2 000 holdout jihadists and 750 000 civilians are trapped, government forces made steady progress.

But after relatively easy gains on the city's outskirts, they encountered increasingly stiff resistance from ISIS defending its emblematic stronghold.

Damaged and unusable

"We had an important operation this morning (on Sunday) to move towards the bridge," said Colonel Falah al-Wabdan, from the interior ministry's Rapid Response units that have spearheaded the breach into west Mosul.

"We have moved past a large berm constructed by Daesh (ISIS) with tunnels underneath," he said, adding that the area was heavily mined and that his forces had killed 44 jihadists on Sunday alone.

Wabdan was referring to what is known as "the fourth bridge", the southernmost of five bridges - all of which are damaged and unusable - across the Tigris River that divides the northern Iraqi city.

Government forces retook the east bank from ISIS a month ago, completing a key phase in an offensive on Mosul that began on October 17 and has involved tens of thousands of fighters.

Wabdan said that securing the bank area near the fourth bridge would allow engineering units to extend a ribbon bridge to the other side and further pile pressure on the jihadists.

"It is very important because if we take it, engineering units... will be able to throw a bridge across from the left bank so we can move supplies and ammunition from the battle field," he said.

Bridging operations under fire are complex and perilous but Iraqi forces have been trained by the US military and successfully used that strategy before in the fight against ISIS.

Claw back

A ribbon bridge assembled with US assistance over the Euphrates River was considered a turning point in the battle that eventually saw Iraqi forces retake the western stronghold of Ramadi from the jihadists a year ago.

The elite Counter-Terrorism Service that has done most of the fighting against ISIS in Mosul so far entered the western neighbourhood of Al-Maamun  on Friday.

Troops from the US-led coalition assisting Iraq in its efforts to claw back the swathes of territory it lost to ISIS in 2014 have stepped up their involvement on the ground in recent weeks.


Read more on:    isis  |  iraq

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.