An Iraqi soldier rushes to aid his fellow comrades after an ISIS car bomb exploded nearby in the newly liberated Jawsaq neighborhood in western Mosul. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A strategic bridge considered to be the end-line of efforts to retake several neighborhoods, along with the al-Sumud district in the western half of Mosul, was recaptured by Iraqi troops on Monday, increasing the number of bridges reclaimed from ISIS on the right bank of the city to two.
A Rudaw reporter said today that the Iraqi army recaptured al-Hurriya bridge, also known as the second bridge. This comes after the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) took control of the key fourth bridge earlier this month. The bridge had already been disabled by strikes from the US-led coalition to prevent ISIS militants from bringing in reinforcement once the group was present in the area and fought off the Iraqi armed forces.
The Iraqi government announced that counter-terrorism forces have brought al-Sumud neighborhood under control and have started surrounding the city's provincial buildings and al-Mansour neighborhood.
After a three-day stoppage due to bad weather, Iraqi armed forces resumed their assault on ISIS militants on Sunday with little advance into the neighborhoods of Dawasa, Denedan, and al-Mansour.
Rudaw's Sidad Lashkiri, embedded with the Iraqi forces, reported on Sunday that the Iraqi Federal Police and Rapid Response Force recaptured 20 percent of Denedan neighborhood near the fourth Mosul bridge and continues to advance into Dawasa.
Lashkiri added that ISIS militants were putting up tough resistance against the advancing Iraqi forces with snipers and car bombs.
Over the past 15 days, 330 ISIS militants have been killed and 110 others taken captive, according to army officials. They have also detonated 90 car bombs.
The advancement of Iraqi troops has been slow as the army nears more inhabited centers of the city where ISIS is thought to be using residents as human shields. Around 750,000 people are still estimated to be in the western half of Mosul where ISIS is largely in control.
The Iraqi military said at least 125 suicide bombings have been recorded since the operation began in the western half of the city on Feb. 19, many of them with deadly outcomes for the Iraqi troops.
“More than 10 suicide bombers stage attacks on a daily basis,” said Iraqi army officer Hisam Wali.
Over 500 Iraqi soldiers have been killed since the operation started.
The coalition estimates that there are about 7,000 ISIS militants in Iraq, with around 2,000 of them in and around Mosul. Of those, foreign fighters number about 10 percent.
Apart from al-Sumud, the army has taken over control of the districts of Wadi al-Hajar, al-Jawsaq, and al-Tayyaran on the southern edge of the western half of the city, and the southernmost district of al-Maamun.