Iraqi Hashad Sha’abi fighters gearing up for Mosul operation

Press TV- Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units are reportedly moving their heavy military equipment and armored vehicles to the western flank of Mosul in preparation from an anti-Daesh offensive.

Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the second-in-command of the forces – commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – said the pro-government fighters are gearing up for the sixth stage of the offensive to retake western Mosul, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, Arabic-language al-Forat news agency reported.

Iraqi military aircraft also hit seven boats cruising along Tigris River. The vessels were reportedly carrying Daesh extremists, who had escaped skirmishes between government forces and the Takfiris.

Meanwhile, Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah said members of the Quick Reaction Force and the 5th Division of the Federal Police have managed to establish complete control over Sumer district, which lies on the eastern bank of Tigris River, as well as the neighboring Saheroun neighborhood.

The high-ranking Iraqi commander said government forces have inflicted heavy loss on Daesh ranks during the operations, and hoisted the national flag over several government buildings there.

Iraqi forces drive down a road in the Palestine neighborhood after recapturing the area from Takfiri Daesh militants on January 11, 2017, during an ongoing military operation to recapture the city of Mosul. (Photo by AFP)

The media bureau for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command also announced that F-16 fighter jets of the Iraqi Air Force had carried out an air strike against Badush cement plant, located 35 kilometers west of the city of Mosul, which was used by Daesh snipers as a hideout.

Another strike destroyed a training camp for Daesh elements inside Mosul, while the third razed a workshop used for rigging vehicles with explosives. A number of Daesh militants, who were busy booby-trapping cars, were killed in the strike.

An unnamed security source also said on Wednesday that Iraqi army soldiers and their allies were just 200 meters away from the tomb of Prophet Jonah north of Mosul.

An Iraqi army soldier sitting on top of a Humvee talks with Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) members in eastern Mosul on January 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Also on Wednesday, the Iraqi army’s elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) regained control of al-Maliyah and Seddiq neighborhoods in eastern Mosul, besides April 7th neighborhood north of the city.

The JOC stated that at least 200 Daesh elements were killed during a series of operations in and around Mosul on Wednesday.

Iraqi army soldiers, supported by Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched a joint operation on October 17, 2015 to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists.

A total of 137,880 people, or 22,980 families, have been displaced from Mosul and neighboring areas since the start of the operations, according to latest figures released by the International Organization for Migration.