Mosul- Another senior ISIS commander has been sent to meet his beloved Allah as Iraqi government forces recaptured another area in western Mosul as they continue incursions in districts overlooking the ISIS held Old City from the northwest.
The Nineveh operations command said the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service forces took over al-Maamel (laboratories/factories) area on Wednesday, and raised Iraqi flags at the area. It also said forces killed Abu Ayoub al-Shami, Islamic State’s military commander for the Islah al-Zeraie district, along with three of his aides.
Hell YEAH! Another ISIS scumbag leader bites the dust.
Mohamed Mostafa at Iraqi News reports that this latest developments come as Iraqi forces opened last week a new front targeting the strategic, ISIS held Old City from the northwestern direction, having struggled for weeks to invade the densely populated and narrowly structured area from its southern entrances.
Iraqi commanders have reported dozens of deaths among Islamic State militants and the recapture of large parts of districts on the targets list.
On Monday, a spokesperson of the Interior Ministry said ministry forces had killed 3320 ISIS terrorists since the offensive to retake western Mosul was launched in February. Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting.
Iraqi commanders say they currently control at least 70 percent of territory in the western side of Mosul. Some were quoted expecting the city to be fully under security forces’ control before the end of May. Retaking Mosul will be the strongest blow to the Islamic State’s proclaimed “caliphate” which its supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared from the Old City’s Grand Mosque in 2014.
Separately, Major General Wasiq al-Hamdani told Basnews news agency that Federal Police forces had carried out a sweep operation in parts of eastern Mosul, and arrested 20 Daesh terrorists in Karamah, Khadra and Kokceli neighborhoods.
A number of high-ranking militant commanders were among those detained.
Hamdani noted that the detainees have been transferred to a police station to undergo interrogation, and face justice at last.
A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support for the offensive in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to hardline Sunni Muslim fighters in June 2014.
Islamic State has lost most of the city since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the northwestern districts, including the historic Old City center.
The United Nations believes up to half a million people remain in the area, 400,000 of whom are in the Old City with little food, water and medicine.
The militants have dug in among the civilians, often launching deadly counter-attacks to repel forces closing in on the Old City’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque, from where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria.
Several thousands of people have been killed so far in the battle, both civilians and military, according to international aid organizations. The total number of people displaced from Mosul since October is close to 400,000, about a fifth of the population before its capture by Islamic State.