VIDEO: first pictures from Tel Kaif on Thursday.
TEL KAIF, Iraq – The Iraqi army declared it fully controlled the town of Tel Kaif in northern Mosul from ISIS militants after it had launched a three-pronged assault on the town Thursday morning.
Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, commander of the 'We are Coming Nineveh' operation said in a statement Thursday evening that the Iraqi armed forces took control over Tel Kaif.
ISIS put up a weak defense and lost key areas when the advancing forces entered the town, Rudaw's Peshawa Pahlawi reported from a liberated district in the town. Heavy clashes had taken place in the Qasabiyah district, also called Old Tal Kaif.
Residents told Rudaw that they were anticipating the offensive, so they had remained in their houses for more than two days.
The Iraqi Joint Command issued a statement midday on Thursday declaring that they had raised the Iraqi flag over the municipal council building and courthouse after retaking them from ISIS.
Tal Kaif, 10 kilometers north of Mosul and home to a sizable Christian population, was under siege for more than two months.
An Iraqi commander told Rudaw on Thursday morning, speaking on condition of anonymity, that divisions 9 and 1 of the Iraqi army had entered the town.
The Iraqi army announced the full siege on Tel Kaif in late October. Two months later they conducted an operation south of the town to cut ISIS supply lines along the Mosul-Tel Kaif road.
Retaking Tel Kaif will oust the extremist group from yet another population centre in Nineveh province. Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesperson for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, told Rudaw on Wednesday that they have liberated about 66 to 70 percent of the province since the launch of the Mosul operation more than three months ago.
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Dark green - under Peshmerga control
Light green - encircled/battling by Peshmerga
Red - under Iraqi control
Pink - encircled/battling by Iraqi forces
Yellow - under Hashd al-Shaabi control
Orange - encircled/battling by Hashd al-Shaabi