Ministry of Defense’s Falcon Intelligence Cell revealed, on Monday, that the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is still alive and staying in Syria, while warned of the “political terrorism” after the liberation of Mosul. Head of the Falcon Intelligence Cell said in a press statement that the criminal al-Baghdadi is still alive and moving freely on the Syrian borders to Iraq. He also warned of the Islamic State danger on the country, calling it the phase of political terrorism after the liberation of Mosul, while pointed out that the terrorist group is planning to extend its strategy to some politicians, who are taking advantage of the invasion of the Northern provinces.
With an average of 45,000 people fleeing western Mosul as Iraqi forces fight to retake densely-populated neighborhoods from ISIS, the top UN humanitarian representative to Iraq described the strain put on the humanitarian community in the country as overwhelming and nearing a breaking point. “If pace of displacement accelerates further, to be absolutely frank, it’s going to stretch us to a breaking point”, Lise Grande told reporters in teleconference briefing on Thursday, adding that 45,000 people per week have been leaving the west.OCHR, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated that 13,350 people were displaced on March 3 alone. “We’re literally constructing around the clock”, Grande said, summarizing that when there’s a plot ready and a tent on it, mattresses inside, water and sanitation, humanitarian organizations inform the military that site is ready. Grande said 6,800 people left Mosul on Thursday, and there was space available for 24,000 people in displacement camps. “Tomorrow, if 20,000 people come out [in one day], there’s our capacity”, Grande said.
The U.S.-led Coalition said Islamic State (ISIS) militants are now completely surrounded in Mosul by Iraqi security forces. Dorrian added that 60 percent of the territories that ISIS once controlled in Iraq have now been recaptured due to the cooperation between the Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces who, he said, are fighting bravely. He also said that Iraqi forces had now liberated 17 areas of western Mosul.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul on Tuesday to meet Iraqi forces taking part in the offensive against Islamic State militants in the city, this is the first visit of Mosul since Iraqi forces began the operation to regain the city. (On November 25 last year, Abadi visited Bartela sub-district near Mosul city). Abadi promised the residents of areas under ISIS control that Iraq will defeat the militant group, adding that Iraqi forces were advancing on all fronts with no retreat: “the defeat is inevitable”. Abadi’s visit to Mosul comes after Iraqi security forces regained control of the government complex and the museum building in west Mosul on Tuesday after a successful overnight raid.
Daesh (or ISIS) terrorists launched a counter-attack against advancing Iraqi forces in western Mosul during an overnight rain storm. Explosions and gun fire rang out across the city’s southwestern districts in the early hours of Thursday. The fighting eased in the late morning, although a Reuters correspondent saw an air strike and rebel mortar fire. The Takfiri militants are using suicide car bombers, snipers and booby traps to counter the offensive waged by the 100,000-strong force of Iraqi troops, Kurdish Peshmarga fighters and Hashd al-Shaabi forces. Hundreds of women and children gathered in one abandoned bus station in the rain to receive food from the army and a local charity.
Iraqi forces seized a damaged Mosul bridge on Monday which could link up their units on either side of the Tigris river, as thousands of civilians fled the fighting for Islamic State’s remaining stronghold in the west of the city. U.S.-backed army and police units advanced through populated western districts, fighting tough street battles, and announced they had captured Mosul’s southernmost bridge. Once repaired, the bridge could help bring reinforcements and supplies from the eastern side, Major Ali Mohammed, Commander of First Regiment of Rapid Response Units, described the operation in al-Josaq: “We cleared al-Josaq district and we are close to the fourth bridge. The advance is ongoing, God willing. We killed snipers and you can see their bodies, this is the body of one of them”.
U.S.- backed Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul on Saturday after retaking the city’s airport from Islamic State and punching into built-up areas of the jihadists’ last major stronghold in the country. The iraqi -Troops advanced in several southern districts that are more built-up and populated than outlying areas, and around 1,000 civilians walked across the frontlines – the largest displacement since fighting began a week ago to deal ISIS a decisive blow. Counter-terrorism forces were advancing on two directions towards Wadi Hajr and Mamoun districts, said Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, a senior commander. Around one thousand civilians, mostly women and children, left parts of Mosul on Saturday where they climbed into military trucks taking them to camps further south.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with the head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph L. Votel, on Thursday to discuss the fight against the Islamic State. Votel expressed congratulations during the meeting with Abadi over victories Iraqi forces achieved over the militant group in the campaign to regain the west of Mosul and reiterated his country’s support to Iraq. The militants are essentially under siege in western Mosul, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians, after U.S.-backed forces surrounding the city forced them from the east in the first phase of an offensive that concluded last month.
A weaponized drone guided by Islamic State militants killed five civilians in eastern Mosul, while five group members were arrested there on Wednesday. Anadolu Agency quoted Brig. Gen. Mohamed al-Bostani, from the army’s 16th division, saying that an advanced drone dropped two rockets on al-Rashidiya, northeast of Mosul, killing five civilians and wounding three others. He have said taht the situation in eastern Mosul was still “unstable” and in need for more intelligence and security effort. Iraqi officials have also voiced fears that dormant IS cells in those areas could pose a security threat.
Iraqi security forces launched an offensive on terrorists defending Mosul’s west Sunday, in what could be the most brutal fighting yet in a four-month-old operation on the city. “Our forces are beginning the liberation of the citizens from the terror of Daesh. We announce the start of a new phase in the operation. We are coming, Nineveh, to liberate the western side of Mosul”, have said iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a short televised speech.Federal police and interior ministry forces were expected to start the new phase in the offensive by moving on Mosul airport, which is on the southern edge of the city, west of the Tigris River.