Fri Apr 7, 2017 03:38PM
A member of Iraq's Federal Police force holds his rifle as he walks along a street in Mosul, Iraq, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
A member of Iraq's Federal Police force holds his rifle as he walks along a street in Mosul, Iraq, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Iraqi government forces, backed by volunteer fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, have made new territorial gains on the western outskirts of Mosul as they engage in joint operations to flush Takfiri Daesh terrorists out of their last urban stronghold in the Arab country.

Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah said on Friday that soldiers from the 9th Armored Division and 71st Brigade of the 15th Division had regained control over the villages of Old Rayhaniyah, New Rayhaniyah as well as Ghazilwah west of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital, Baghdad, hoisting the national flag over several buildings there, Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported.

Separately, Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat said Iraqi Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles had struck Daesh positions in the Bridge district of Mosul, killing a dozen Daesh members in the process.

Jawdat added that a senior militant commander, identified as Abu Maria al-Roussi, and two of his close aides were among the slain extremists.

A sniper from Iraq's Federal Police force aims at Daesh positions from the roof of a building on the frontline in Mosul, Iraq, on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The media bureau of Iraq’s Joint Operations Command also announced in a statement that Iraqi military aircraft had bombarded a workshop used for rigging vehicles with explosives in the al-Salam neighborhood of Tal Afar city, situated 63 kilometers west of Mosul, killing a number of high-ranking Daesh figures.

The statement noted that the workshop was completely razed in the aerial attack, and eight car bombs were also destroyed.

Iraqi army soldiers and pro-movement fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements since launching the operation to retake Mosul last October.

The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.