MOSUL - Iraqi security forces advanced
Monday towards a compound of jihadist-held
government buildings and a bridgehead, on
the second day of a renewed push in west
Mosul, officers said.
The operation to retake west Mosul, the
largest urban population centre still in the
hands of the Islamic State group, began on
February 19, but had slowed amid several
days of bad weather until a renewed drive
began on Sunday.
The interior ministry's elite Rapid
Response forces "are advancing in the Al-Dawasa
and Al-Dindan areas to liberate the
government buildings and secure a route for
families to leave," Lieutenant Colonel
Abdulamir Mohammedawi said.
The fighting in west Mosul has sparked an
exodus from that side of the city, pushing
more than 45,000 people to flee, according
to the International Organization for
The Nineveh provincial government
buildings are close to Al-Hurriyah Bridge,
but "we have not yet reached the bridge, we
are metres (yards) from it," Mohammedawi
Mosul is divided by the Tigris River, and
while the series of bridges crossing it have
either been damaged or destroyed, they would
provide a link between the Iraqi
government-held east and IS-held west Mosul
if they can be repaired or otherwise
Iraqi forces recaptured the western side
of the fourth bridge, which is south of Al-Hurriyah,
at the end of last month.
IS overran large areas north and west of
Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by
US-led air strikes and other support have
since regained most of the ground they lost.