Iraq kills Daesh commander, captures Mosul bridge

  • Iraq kills Daesh commander, captures Mosul bridge

Iraq kills Daesh commander, captures Mosul bridge

Almost 100,000 people have been displaced by the battle to retake west Mosul from IS.

In a related development, four Iraqi rapid-response personnel (affiliated with the Interior Ministry) were killed Monday evening when Daesh militants shelled their positions in central Mosul's Bab al-Toub district, Ahmed al-Jubouri, a colonel in the army's Nineveh Operations Command, told Anadolu Agency.

The southernmost two bridges have already been retaken.

In the latest figures released Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration said almost 100,000 Iraqis have fled western Mosul amid Iraqi battles against Daesh.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since retaken most of the territory they lost, launching the operation to retake Mosul - the country's last IS-held city - in October.

The bridge, which was damaged in fighting late previous year, was captured by federal police and Interior Ministry Rapid Response units, a police statement said.

Government forces also pushed into areas of western Mosul, Daesh's last redoubt in the city that has been the de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate.

Brigadier General Mahdi Abbas Abdullah of the Rapid Response force said, "We are still moving toward the Iron Bridge. Any of the fighters left in Mosul, they're going to die there", McGurk said in a conference in Baghdad.

"Whenever we advance there are more people coming out", said one Iraqi officer directing refugee transport.

Khanjar noted that most casualties are a result of United States air strikes and "indiscriminate" shelling of crowded neighborhoods by the US-trained elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces, Reuters reported.

More than 65,000 of them fled their homes over the past two weeks, the organisation said.

The IOM also said that Iraqi government figures indicated a total of more than 116,000 people from west Mosul had gone through a screening site south of the city.

Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi said that the military operation aimed at liberating western Mosul was "in its last stage". While the Islamic State is known to use men, women, and children as human shields in Mosul, the city's residents have also accused the coalition of indiscriminate bombing.

"Mosul's liberation is increasingly in sight albeit with increasingly hard fighting ahead", McGurk said, adding that Iraqi forces are retaking "some of the most hard ground that we knew would have to be reclaimed".