Iraq launched operation to regain control of Western Mosul, said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The operation began after a few weeks ago, Iraqi forces recaptured the Eastern part of Mosul across the river, "Tiger". On the first day of a new offensive by the Iraqi forces, the Federal police said they killed 79 ISIS militants and destroyed weapons, and regained control of 10 villages.
The Prime Minister described the operation as "a new dawn" in the liberation of Mosul, the last major stronghold of ISIL in the country. "Go forth with my blessings, heroes of Iraq," he said on state television.
ISIS seized Mosul, the second largest city of Iraq, in 2014 the Offensive retook the city in October with the help of Iraqi army, Federal police and Kurdish militants. Iraqi forces controlled the Eastern part of the city since January, but the control of the Western side of Mosul was slipping away from them. For the last 2 years ISIS has moved most of its defensive preparations in the Western part of the city.
The area has been the target of air strikes in the past. This operation marks the first major ground offensive. Iraqi forces are unable to attack across the river, because all 5 of the bridges connecting the Eastern and Western part of the city badly damaged. The offensive, as expected, came from the South and West.
In addition, the old town has narrow alleys, which are impassable for military vehicles. Military warned, "the effects of artillery and other explosive weapons in these narrow, densely populated streets is likely to be more deadly than anything we have seen in the conflict so far."
On Friday and Saturday, American warplanes F-16 targeted the industrial areas of Western Mosul, Wadi Akab and destroyed several purposes.
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