Iraqi forces liberate Mosul's 'Iron Bridge' from Daesh

Nearly 100000 displaced since start of western Mosul assault

Near the Mosul Museum, Iraq forces used armored vehicles and tanks to attack snipers pinning down troops clearing areas around the bridge.

It was simply a boost to the stiff resistance of Islamic State fighters who have retreated into more crowded urban areas including Mosul's old city, making life hard for the Rapid Response force.

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.

"We are still moving toward the Iron Bridge".

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.

Iraqi forces now hold three of the five bridges that span the Tigris in Mosul.

Displaced Iraqi people who fled from homes during a battle between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, receive bread at the Hammam al-Alil camp, south of Mosul on Monday.

Since starting the offensive in October, Iraqi forces with US-led coalition and Iranian support via Shia jihadist organisations have retaken eastern Mosul and claim to have taken about 30 per cent of the west from the militants, who are outnumbered but fiercely defending their last stronghold in Iraq.

They expected to gain control of the Iron Bridge and the nearby area by the end of the day, he said.


Tens of thousands of people have streamed out of west Mosul since February 25, and security forces are searching for IS jihadists trying to sneak out of the city among civilians.

Some have been taken by army trucks to processing areas but many have to wait.

The Federal Police and Rapid Response said at the weekend they had entered the old city.

"Unless there is a political process that restores confidence of Sunnis in the state.in a post-Daesh phase there may emerge more organizations of terrorists that are even more extreme than Daesh", he said. Food and water had been scarce, they said - but they were pleased to have escaped ISIL's clutches, saying Daesh had wanted to move them to other areas.

Until the latest phase of the battle to take western Mosul, the campaign had gone well with lower-than-expected civilian losses, Khanjar said crediting the professionalism of the US trained elite forces.

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

These are the conditions Islamic State fighters holed up in the city centre relish.

Eastern Mosul recently fell to the anti-ISIS U.S. -backed offensive of almost 100,000 Iraqi government forces, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and Iran-backed Shiite militias, among other fighters.

The old city contains the mosque from which Islamic State leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself caliph over large areas of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014.

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