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Feb. 15, 2017

Army commander: bad weather delayed west Mosul onslaught from Saturday


A member of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) stands on a building during a battle with Islamic State militants in east of Mosul, Iraq, January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Nineveh - An awaited major offensive against Islamic State locations in western Mosul was due on Saturday by delayed due to bad weather conditions, a commander at the Iraqi army said.

Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi, a commander of the second division of the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces, told Iraqi newspaper al-Sabah that the operations were due on Saturday but were called off until the weatther betters.

Saadi, however, echoing similar statements by the army’s generals, said the forces remain ready to invade western Mosul upon the signal from the supreme command headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

On January 24th, Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and popular paramilitaries, recaptured eastern Mosul from Islamic State, achieving the most remarkable victory in three months of battles against the extremist group.

Inclement weather had halted operations at some stages during battles in the east.

“There must be seven days of non-stop military operations in order for the security forces to reach the outskirts of the city and make military achievements like those made in the eastern side,” said Saadi.

Islamic State had lost at least 3000 fighters in battles at the eastern section, but is vigorously building up its defenses in the west for the decisive battle. It has also carried out several attacks on recaptured areas in the east over the past weeks, leaving civilian and security deaths.