Iraqi forces battle stiff IS resistance over Mosul University

Iraqi forces battle stiff IS resistance over Mosul University
Iraqi forces continued to push into the university compound a day after first reaching the grounds, reported army officials. A Dutch IS leader has also reportedly been killed in clashes.
2 min read
14 January, 2017

Iraq - Mosul update 6

Iraqi forces secured less than a quarter of Mosul University on Saturday amid stiff resistance from Islamic State [IS] militants in the battle for control of the city.

The ground forces continued to push into the university compound from the southeast a day after they first breached the grounds on Friday morning, according to army officials.

Thick clouds of black smoke rose over the sprawling complex on Saturday morning. Mortar fire and gunshots could be heard from ongoing clashes.

A top Dutch IS leader was killed in clashes in eastern Mosul on Friday, Kurdish news site Rudaw reported.

"On Friday, Taes Bill Monti known as Abu Omer Hollandi, head of IS Inghimasi force, meaning the fighters who fight until death, was killed in clashes with the Iraqi army," Saeed Mamuzini, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official for Mosul affairs, told Rudaw.

Hollandi, 41, was believed to have been running two important posts before he was gunned down in the Muhamdiseen neighbourhood.

He was heading foreign militants fighting for IS and had been a close associate with IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Meanwhile, residents of western Mosul – which remains under full IS control - said airstrikes targeting militants have killed up to 30 civilians this week.

Locals said at least three missiles hit al-Jadida area on Thursday in airstrikes that appeared to be targeting the house of a senior militant Harbi Abdel Qader.

Qader was not in the building during the operation but a number of his family members were killed in the attack, one resident told Reuters on Friday.

The account could not be independently verified.

It was not clear whether the attack was carried out by US-led coalition fighting IS or by Iraqi forces.

Areas of Mosul west of the river Tigris, which bisects the city from north to south, are still controlled by the militant group.

Almost all of the east has been recaptured by Iraqi forces, who are fighting to drive the militants out of the city, IS' last major stronghold in Iraq.

The massive operation to retake Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from IS was launched in October. Since then Iraqi forces have slowly clawed back about a third of the city.