Published: Thu, January 12, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Islamic State Blows Up Government Buildings On Iraq's Mosul

Islamic State Blows Up Government Buildings On Iraq's Mosul

Iraqi troops in Mosul have battled their way to the Tigris River running through the center of town, marking a milestone in the almost three-month-old offensive aimed at reclaiming the northern city from Islamic State militants.

All the major bridges between the two sides of the city have now been cut, making it more hard for Isil to send supplies and fighters from the west to the beleaguered east.

The United States leads an worldwide coalition against the Islamic State that carries out airstrikes, trains Iraqi forces and gathers intelligence, while the Iraqi government, Shiite-led militias and the Kurdish Peshmerga engage the Sunni Islam militant group in ground offensives.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a recent report that the military operations in Mosul have pushed about 136,000 civilians to flee their homes in the city and its adjacent districts since the beginning of military offensive in October to reclaim the IS largest stronghold in Iraq.

Al-Faysaliya is located north of several districts captured by Iraqi forces on Monday, as the troops secured further advances against the militants by the Tigris River.

The United Nations' humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) said almost 700 people had been taken to hospitals in cities in Kurdish-controlled areas outside Mosul in the last week, and more than 817 had required hospital treatment a week earlier.

The advances however did slow down in November and December as the IS put up fierce resistance and used the civilian population as cover, therefore making it hard for Iraqi forces to target them. Dozens of militants have been killed by Iraqi troops backed by USA -led coalition forces. They have also blown up bridges crossing the Tigris to try to slow the Iraqi advance, military officials say.

The operation, which some Iraqi leaders said would end by 2016, had slowed when ISIS fighters began using civilians for cover.

A spokesman for the rapid response units of Iraq's federal police Lieutenant-Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi, told Reuters IS was hiding among civilians.

"Whenever they (IS) withdraw from a district, they shell it at random, and it's heavy shelling", he added.

Since then, Iraqi security forces, backed by worldwide coalition forces, have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city.

Major General Najm al-Jubbouri said, "They will soon liberate other areas and hopefully finish the eastern side".

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