Fierce clashes have erupted in Mosul’s al-Salam neighborhood, as Iraqi forces make gains against Daesh terrorists deep inside the northern city and advance closer to the Tigris River, which divides the city into eastern and western sides.
The Iraqi army’s 9th Armored Division announced the recapture of al-Salam Hospital in eastern Mosul on Tuesday.
However, fighting continued on Wednesday in the al-Salam neighborhood, where the five-storey medical institution is situated. The Daesh elements were said to have been using the hospital’s upper floors and roof as sniper positions for some time.
“We advanced in al-Salam district but the situation is difficult, there is heavy fighting,” said Iraqi Brigadier General Shaker Kadhem, adding, “We took control of al-Salam Hospital, which was a command center for Daesh.”
He further noted that the latest push in Mosul was aimed at meeting up with the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces on the banks of the Tigris in Mosul’s southeast.
A senior unidentified CTS officer also said the fighting in al-Salam district was fierce and the Iraqi army had called for backup.
“The 9th Division’s situation is difficult and they have called for support. We are sending a regiment there,” he said, noting that the soldiers “are surrounded now in al-Salam Hospital… [and] we are on the way so we can open a passage for them.”
Meanwhile, the Daesh-affiliated Amaq news agency reported that the Takfiri militants had carried out five car bombings in the al-Salam area over the past 24 hours.
The Iraqi Federal Police also confirmed that several car bombs were exploded while bombers set off their explosives in the flashpoint district around al-Salam Hospital.
According to an unnamed military source, three Iraqi soldiers were killed and 40 others sustained injuries in Daesh attacks on Wednesday.
Advances on the ground
On the same day, the Iraqi forces liberated eight villages in northern Mosul from the grip of Daesh militants.
The Iraq special forces further managed to wrest control of the al-Elam neighborhood in eastern Mosul.
The commander of the Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, announced in a statement that the area was “fully liberated” and the Iraqi national flag was raised over its buildings.
Yarellah also went on to say that Daesh terrorists “suffered losses” without elaborating further on the subject.
Mosul fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in the Arab country.
The Iraqi army troops and allied fighters have been leading an offensive to retake Mosul since October 17.
The Iraqi forces made quick gains on Mosul’s southern and northern fronts when the city’s liberation operation was launched.
However, the Iraqi troops’ advance has been slowed down due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians, many of whom are prevented from leaving Mosul by Daesh.
The United Nations said on Wednesday that more than 82,000 people have been displaced by the Mosul offensive.