World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraqi forces will retake east Mosul from the jihadists within days, a top commander said Monday, after his fighters in the city reached the Tigris River for the first time.
East Mosul will be retaken within "a few days, God willing," Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a top commander in Iraq's elite Counter-extremism Service, told AFP.
Assadi's remarks came a day after officials said Iraqi forces in Mosul had reached the eastern side of a bridge across the Tigris River, which divides the city, for the first time during the operation.
Assadi said that "the bridge fell tactically," though Iraqi forces were still some 150 metres (yards) away.
The general also said that "our units... are close to encircling Mosul University," whose sprawling campus is located east of the Tigris.
IS overran Mosul and swathes of other territory north and west of Baghdad in 2014, sweeping aside security forces that were ill-prepared to face the assault.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi forces launched an offensive on October 17 to retake Mosul, the last major urban centre in Iraq still controlled by the group that seized around a third of the country in 2014.
Several areas around the city, Iraq's second largest, were swiftly reconquered, but the elite forces that pushed into the streets of Mosul itself have faced stiffer than expected resistance.
In late December, the federal advance inside the city had slowed to a crawl but a fresh coordination effort between CTS and other forces gave fresh impetus to the operation.Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ocak 2017, 17:04