Iraqi forces launched the multi-pronged second phase of the battle to retake eastern Mosul from Takfiri insurgents on Thursday, a top commander said.
Iraqi forces punched into eastern Mosul after the massive operation to recapture the northern city from ISIL group was launched on October 17.
“The second phase of liberating the left bank in Mosul was launched, and our forces began advancing toward Al-Quds neighborhood,” Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a senior officer in Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service, (CTS) told AFP.
Mosul, now the last Iraqi city in which ISIL still holds significant territory, is split by the Tigris River, with the east side referred to as the left bank and the west as the right.
“Now our forces clashed with the enemy and there is resistance,” he said, adding that forces on the northern and southern fronts were also advancing.
Iraqi forces north and south of Mosul had so far remained outside the city, with the brunt of the fighting inside it being carried out by the CTS.
ISIL overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained much of the territory they lost to the Takfiris.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said earlier this week that three months were needed to eliminate ISIL in Iraq.