Iraqi forces retake Mosul University in key IS defeat

Iraqi forces retake Mosul University in key IS defeat
Iraqi forces have retaken the sprawling Mosul University campus from Islamic State militants, army officers claim, a key advance in efforts to liberate the entire eastern side of the city.
2 min read
14 January, 2017
Iraqi ground forces retook the university compound in a lightning offensive [Getty]

Iraqi forces on Saturday retook Mosul's university from the Islamic State group, the latest key advance in efforts to recapture the eastern side of the city, officers said.

"We can say that the university has been liberated," Maan Saadi, a major general in the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), told AFP.

The vast Mosul University campus, one of the biggest in Iraq, lies in the north of the city on the east bank of the Tigris River that splits Mosul in two.

"We have done the hardest part... we may recapture the entirety of the eastern side in the next 10 days or so," Saadi said.

The top CTS commander, General Taleb Sheghati al-Kenani, spoke to state-run Iraqiya TV from the university.

The ground forces continued to push into the university compound from the southeast earlier on Saturday, a day after they first breached the grounds, 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.

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

About 85 percent 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.