Iraqi special forces battling the ISIL terrorist group on Friday pushed deeper into west Mosul, where a commander said ‘jihadist’ defense lines are showing signs of weakening under repeated assaults.
Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service attacked the Al-Amil al-Oula neighborhood of west Mosul early on Friday, and were battling the ‘jihadists’ inside it, said Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi, a CTS commander.
Iraq’s Joint Operations Command later announced that CTS had retaken that area along with another neighborhood, Al-Amil al-Thaniyah.
Saadi said that following a string of losses since the launch of the government’s assault on west Mosul on February 19, ISIL resistance had diminished.
“After we broke the (first) defensive line, they lost many fighters,” he said.
“The enemy has begun to collapse. They have lost many of their combat capabilities. Today, the enemy sent (suicide car bombs), but not in the numbers that they sent at the beginning of the battle.”
In another sign that the ‘jihadists’ are feeling the squeeze, their chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported to have abandoned Mosul, leaving local commanders behind to oversee defense of the city.
Iraqi forces launched their operation to retake Mosul in October, and recaptured the whole east bank of the Tigris River that runs through it in January.