Iraqi army, volunteer fighters force Daesh terrorists out of Mosul airport

Press TV- Iraqi government forces, supported by fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, have closed in on the Mosul International Airport, forcing the Daesh Takfiri terrorists to pull out of the facility.

The development came as Iraqi forces are engaged in a new offensive to fully recapture the country’s second largest city and drive Daesh terrorists out of their last urban bastion in the Arab country.

Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat announced the news in a statement on Tuesday, saying that the airport had been a strategic stronghold for Daesh and the progress was made after fierce fighting with Takfiri terrorists.

He added that tactics employed by Iraqi forces, including heavy bombardment of Daesh positions by jets and helicopters, forced the group to fully withdraw from the facility, adding that liberation operation, commenced early morning on Tuesday, also inflicted substantial damage on the group.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network, citing a local source, reported that earlier in the day, chief security observer of Daesh at Mosul airport, identified as “Abu Abdullah,” was killed along with two other companions in a drone strike at the main gate of the facility.

Iraqi forces on Monday had wrested control over a major military base in Ghizlani, a facility close to the airport, which had been under Daesh control since the group took over Mosul about three years ago.

The airport lies on the southern approach to Mosul, which is located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad, and on the east bank of the Tigris River. Iraqi forces plan to turn the airport into a support base for the offensive into the western part of the city. The airport and its premises are some two kilometers away from the newly-liberated village of Albu Saif.

A member of Iraqi security forces directs a tank in the liberated part of Albu Saif village, south of Mosul, Iraq, February 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

“We are in Albu Saif and we [have] started to clear houses from bombs, and we are conducting house-to-house search,” said Police Lieutenant Colonel Hussein on Tuesday.

The developments came a day after the Popular Mobilization Units announced that their volunteer fighters from the 26th Brigade of the force had also flushed terrorists out of the strategic village of al-Sahaji west of Mosul.

Iraqi forces are pictured in the liberated part of Albu Saif village, south of Mosul, Iraq, February 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The operation, which led to withdrawal of Daesh terrorists from Mosul airport, is part of a full-scale offensive to liberate the western side of the city that began on February 19. Last month, Iraqi government forces retook the eastern side of Mosul, which fell to Daesh in 2014, when the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in the Arab country.

A sniper from Iraq’s Federal Police force takes aim at the Daesh Takfiri terrorists from the roof of a house on the front line in Albu Saif village, south of Mosul, Iraq, February 21, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh mounted an offensive in June 2014.

The militants have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.

Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians have joined forces to retake Mosul. They are now in the middle of a comprehensive offensive, which began on October 17, 2016, aimed at the full liberation of the city from the grips of Daesh. Since then they have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements.