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Symbolic victory as Iraqi forces recapture state TV station in Mosul

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By Seamus Kearney
Symbolic victory as Iraqi forces recapture state TV station in Mosul

It is a symbolic victory in the battle to retake control of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIL militants.

The state television station there has now been recaptured by Iraqi soldiers, backed by US-led air strikes.

ISIL forces are putting up stiff resistance as the Iraqi troops and their allies move closer into the outskirts of Mosul’s eastern suburbs.

Iraqi Special Forces Major General Sami Al-Aridi said: “We are now less than one kilometre from the eastern entrance of Mosul.

“God willing we will liberate and control the area in the coming hours.”

On Monday fighting took place for the first time inside the city limits, with Baghdad vowing to close in on ISIL targets right into the city centre.

Artillery fire and air strikes are being used against the militants.

Numerous villages and towns have been cleared of ISIL since the offensive began two weeks ago.

But army commanders are warning that the campaign could take months.

Mosul is the last major bastion of the militants and there is concern for the fate of the 1.5 million residents who still live there, caught up in the fighting.

Iraqi officials have also voiced increasing concern that ISIL is using civilians as human shields.