- Title: Iraqi forces launch second phase of Mosul offensive against Islamic State
- Date: 29th December 2016
- Summary: SADA, NORTH OF MOSUL, IRAQ (DECEMBER 29, 2016) (REUTERS) SADA VILLAGE (AUDIO OF GUNFIRE) IRAQI ARMY VEHICLES FLYING IRAQ FLAGS SADA VILLAGE AREA (AUDIO OF EXPLOSION) IRAQI ARMY VEHICLES MANOEUVRING VARIOUS OF ARMY COMMANDERS DISCUSSING PLANS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF THE NORTHERN FRONT OF THE MOSUL OPERATION, LIEUTENANT GENERAL, ALI FREIJI, SAYING: "Today we began the second phase of the Nineveh operations. At seven this morning (0400 GMT) the three fronts began advancing towards the city centre. In the northern front, the Iraqi army units were able to advance towards Sada and gain control of the village within a span of time that did not exceed two hours and 45 minutes. And now we are clearing and searching the area." IRAQI SOLDIERS STANDING ON EARTH EMBANKMENT ROCKETS BEING FIRED, TARGETING ISLAMIC STATE LOCATIONS PLUME OF SMOKE RISING FROM VILLAGE VARIOUS OF AN ARMY PICK-UP TRUCK FIRING ROCKETS SMOKE RISING FROM TARGETED LOCATION COALITION PLANE FLYING OVER AREA VARIOUS OF PLUME OF SMOKE RISING FROM TARGETED LOCATION
- Embargoed: 13th January 2017 14:37
- Keywords: Iraq Mosul conflict Islamic State peshmerga
- Location: SADA, NORTH OF MOSUL, IRAQ
- City: SADA, NORTH OF MOSUL, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA0015EXSE9Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraqi security forces on Thursday (December 29) began the second phase of their offensive against Islamic State militants in Mosul, pushing from three directions into eastern districts where the battle has been deadlocked for nearly a month.
While army forces struck Islamic State targets in Sada, a village in the northern limits of the city, U.S. military advisers were seen watching the operations.
"Today we began the second phase of the Nineveh operations. At seven this morning (0400 GMT) the three fronts began advancing towards the city centre. In the northern front, the Iraqi army units were able to advance towards Sada," Lieutenant General Ali Freiji, who was overseeing army operations in the north, told Reuters.
In the northern front heavy gunfire was audible and a suicide car bomb was disabled by the Iraqi army before reaching its target.
State TV said Islamic State defences were collapsing in the areas of Salam, Intisar, Wahda, Palestine and al-Quds and that fighters' bodies filled the streets there.
The government's accounts are difficult to confirm since the authorities have increasingly restricted the foreign news media's access to the battle fronts and areas retaken from Islamic State in and around Mosul without providing a reason.
The military has not entered the city's western side, whose built-up markets and narrow alleyways dating back more than two millennia will likely complicate advances.
Since the offensive to capture Mosul began 10 weeks ago, counter-terrorism forces have retaken a quarter of the city, the jihadists' last major stronghold in Iraq, but their advance has been slow and troops on other fronts have made little progress.
The operation has been slowed by concern to avoid casualties among civilians, who despite food and water shortages have mostly stayed in their homes rather than fleeing as was initially expected. More than 114,000 have been displaced so far, according to the United Nations.
But on Thursday, more than 5,000 soldiers and militarised federal police troops who had redeployed from Mosul's southern outskirts entered half a dozen southeastern neighbourhoods, while counter-terrorism forces advanced in al-Quds and Karama districts after receiving reinforcements.
The battle for Mosul involves 100,000 Iraqi troops, members of the Kurdish security forces and Shi'ite militiamen.
U.S. commanders have said in recent weeks that their military advisers, part of an international coalition fighting Islamic State, will embed more extensively with Iraqi forces.
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