A member of the Iraqi counter-terrorism service forces at a processing center for displaced citizens in western Mosul. Photo: AFP/Christophe Simon
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Security Forces deny that there has been any slowdown in the battle for west Mosul as they announce the destruction of an ISIS security building, and the death of two judges and a mufti of the extremist group.
“Today, April 14, 2017, the federal police forces bombed ISIS militants on the right bank of Mosul, destroying the ISIS general security building. They also destroyed an anti-aircraft weapon inside Zinjili school,” Commander of Iraq’s Federal Police Major Shakir Jawdat said in a statement.
In a separate operation, the Federal Police targeted a group of ISIS militants. “Among the dead were two judges and head of the high committee to supervise ISIS military bases,” Jawdat detailed. “One of the judges was called Abdulqadir Mahmud Hamduni, known as Abu Sajaja. This is in addition to the killing of Abdullah Yunis Badrani, known as Abu Ayub Atar who was an ISIS general mufti, near Jimhuri hospital.”
Fighting is ongoing in some neighborhoods where ISIS has launched counter-attacks.
Iraqi forces repelled an ISIS attack in the area of the Nur mosque and al-Hadba minaret Friday morning, Rudaw’s correspondent in Mosul reported. Coalition and Iraqi army fighter jets were bombing ISIS positions in the area.
Amid reports that operations were slowing down or stalled in the western half of Mosul after mass civilian casualties in March, spokesperson for the operations, Brigadier General Yahya Rasul issued a denial. Iraqi Security Forces are “are advancing very carefully and cautiously in order to protect lives of civilian populations,” he said on Thursday.
Col. John Dorrian, spokesperson for the global anti-ISIS coalition, agreed on Thursday that the pace was slow. "I don't want to say they continue to advance at pace, when in reality, it's very, very slow and it's a very, very hard, gut-busting fight between our forces and theirs,” he said during a teleconference.
Dorrian said Iraqi security forces are making “incremental progress” because of a combination of ISIS strategies.
The battle for west Mosul has been marked by greater destruction than what occurred in the east, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in the country, Lise Grande, stated on Friday. So far, more than 1,000 houses, schools, health centers, and infrastructure, especially water and electricity networks, have been destroyed, she detailed.
As of Thursday, 327,432 civilians have been displaced in the fight for Mosul, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration.
The UN expects many more to flee, Grande said.