MOSUL, Iraq—The military seized control of eastern Mosul from Islamic State, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said, a significant step toward retaking the entire city.
Fighting in Western Mosul, which remains under control of the terror group, will resume after a brief pause, Iraqi commanders said. Mr. Abadi indicated that the next phase of the more-than-three-month battle would begin shortly.
“Now I call upon these heroes to quickly move to liberate the rest of Mosul,” he said at a press conference in Baghdad on Tuesday, speaking of his military and allied forces.
Eastern Mosul is the largest territory Islamic State has lost since taking over nearly one-third of Iraq in 2014. Mosul, bisected by the Tigris River, is the group’s remaining major stronghold in Iraq and the country’s second-largest city.
The battle for Mosul has been the most complex fight against Islamic State in Iraq, involving some 80,000 government-allied troops backed by U.S.-led airstrikes. The vast majority of the battle has been executed by Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, a relatively small U.S.-trained force.
The fight has been characterized by halting advances in the crowded city of 1.2 million residents.
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Featured image courtesy of AFP.