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Iraqi army launches assault to northwestern Mosul, controls village

By Rudaw 4/5/2017

MOSUL, Iraq - Iraqi armed forces launched a massive assault in the direction of ISIS held districts in northwestern Mosul on Thursday, retaking one village and a gas factory, said a Rudaw reporter.

Rudaw’s Farhad Dolamari, who is embedded with the advancing Iraqi forces, including the army’s 9th division, the Rapid Response Force and the Federal Police said the assault has been ongoing since 8am to bring 17 Tamouz and Misherfa areas under control.

In the meantime, the Nineveh Operation Command announced that the Federal Police has been able to control a gas factory in western Mosul.

The village of Hilela has been liberated, said Dolamari, adding that the army is closing in on the villages of upper Misherfa and lower Misherfa.

The army aims to reach the northernmost neighborhoods in the western half of the city, most notably the 17 areas of Tamouz and Haramat.

According to Iraqi army commanders there are just 11 neighborhoods left in western Mosul to be liberated.

More than 350,000 thousand people have been trapped between both sides of Mosul for a month and a half now, awaiting the liberation of their areas from ISIS.

The operation to retake Mosul from ISIS, named ‘We Are Coming Nineveh,’ started in October last year with the Iraqi army gaining swift victories in the eastern half of the city.

But the battle, as anticipated, has been slow in the western, more densely populated areas of the city where the old town is located and where narrower roads and pathways have often halted the advancement of army convoys and troops. 

Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army Osman Ghanimi has said that the operation to recapture the entire area of western Mosul will be completed within a month. According to Ghanimi around 35 percent of the western half of the city is still controlled by militants.  

The battle is especially intense in districts around the Grand Mosque of Mosul, also called the Nour Mosque, in the old town where the ISIS leader Abubakir Baghdadi originally declared his caliphate in 2014. 

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