#MosulOps: Iraqi forces make 'unprecedented advance' towards Tigris river

#MosulOps: Iraqi forces make 'unprecedented advance' towards Tigris river
Iraqi forces battling IS in Mosul are approaching the Tigris River, which runs through the centre of the city, officials said on Saturday.
2 min read
07 January, 2017
The Mosul operation began on October 17 against IS militants [AFP]
Iraq's elite military force have made an "unprecedented" advance against Islamic State in Mosul as a ground assault in the city gains momentum, officials told The New Arab on Saturday.

Counter-terrorism forces pushed back IS militants in the Muthanna district in a midnight raid, advancing across a tributary of the Tigris river.

"The joint forces made unprecedented advances within a short period of time," Counter-terrorism Service [CTS] spokesman Sabah al-Numan told The New Arab.

The forces are less than one kilometre [0.6 miles] away from Tigris River, he said, which splits the city in two. 

"We used special equipment and had the element of surprise - the enemy did not expect us to mount a night offensive because all previous offensives were during the day," he added. 

Iraqi forces also seized another IS-held neighbourhood in the south-eastern part of Mosul.

"Iraqi joint forces managed to break into the al-Furqan neighbourhood south-east of Mosul, seizing al-Salam hospital," General Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, commander of the Mosul offensive, told The New Arab.

The 9th Armoured Division reached al-Salam Hospital in a rapid drive deep into Mosul in December, but quickly found itself surrounded by IS militants and needed support from special forces to withdraw.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since recaptured much of the territory they lost.

Mosul is now the country's last major city in which the militants hold significant ground.

The Mosul operation began on 17 October against IS militants who had seized the city more than two and a half years ago.

Iraqi forces have recaptured a number of neighbourhoods on the east side of the river.

But the smaller and more densely populated west side of Iraq's second city remains completely under IS control.