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Iraqi forces advance in northern Mosul

Iraqi forces advance in northern Mosul
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By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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Fierce battles are underway with ISIL militants in the area. Thousands of people are fleeing to safety, fearing they will be caught up in any retaliation by ISIL.

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Iraqi army forces are in the process of retaking the Hadba district of northern Mosul.

Fierce battles are underway with ISIL militants in the area.

Soldiers can be seen posing with ISIL flags.

Iraqi special forces also made further advances against ISIL on Monday.

Officers in the city say they pushed militants from another eastern district and edged closer to army units nearby.

Images from the night raid by #Iraq's special forces that liberated the Al-Muthanna neighbourhood in eastern #Mosul. pic.twitter.com/FC0RSkP65f

— Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) January 7, 2017

IMPORTANT: #Iraq's armed forces have stormed the Al-Muthanna neighbourhood in eastern #Mosul. Huge progress. pic.twitter.com/g9rf4ebatH

— Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) January 6, 2017

Resistance

Officials say ISIL fighters have carried out four to five car bomb attacks in the area since Friday.

Iraqi forces reach Tigris in Mosul as suicide bombs hit Baghdad https://t.co/lTEjyOZlAF

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 8, 2017

Refugees

Hundreds of Iraqis are fleeing the recently-retaken district of Muthanna in Mosul.

The area is now under the control of Iraqi forces.

But locals fear being caught up in any retaliation from ISIL.

What this means

Monday’s advances in Mosul have consolidated Iraqi forces’ control of several districts close to the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh, east of the river.

The latest advances brought more of eastern Mosul under Iraqi forces’ control.

They come a day after elite units reached the Tigris river.

Battling Islamic State group, Iraq troops reach bank of Tigris River in Mosul. https://t.co/3FFfV97yg7

— The Associated Press (@AP) January 9, 2017

Where next?

The Counter-Terrorism Service says it is working to seize areas overlooking Mosul University in the city’s northeast.

A nearby district has already been taken over.

The context

The US-backed offensive to drive ISIL from its last major stronghold in Iraq is pressing ahead with renewed vigour.

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The offensive against ISIL began in October. It stalled last month but has regained momentum in the last week.

Recapturing Mosul after more than two years of ISIL rule would probably spell the end of the Iraqi wing of the group’s self-declared caliphate.

This spans swathes of Iraq and Syria.

What they are saying

“Since we began (the operation) and entered the area, we have had no losses. ISIL militants went crazy and sent mus many vehicle-borne explosives and suicide bombers,” – Major General Najm al-Jubbouri praises the Iraqi troops involved in the operation.

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WATCH

Refugee children say they would rather live in a refugee camp than in war-torn Mosul.

Despite the tough living conditions, children living in refugee camps outside of
Mosul are thankful to be free. mfbiggs</a> reports. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PBSnews?src=hash">#PBSnews</a> <a href="https://t.co/MTwisF5DvW">pic.twitter.com/MTwisF5DvW</a></p>&mdash; PBS NewsHour (NewsHour) January 9, 2017

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