A military formation controls the Shifa district on the West Bank of the Tigris River and also holds its grip on the fifth bridge.
|Middle East Online|
ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) – The Iraqi army is besieging the old city, the stronghold of the Islamic state, in Mosul on Tuesday after taking control of an area north of it, the Iraqi army said.
The 9th Armored Division took control of the Shifa district on the west bank of the Tigris River, the army said in a statement.
The fall of the Shifa neighborhood means that US-backed government forces have besieged the old city in the eastern part of Mosul.
“The southern part of Al-Shifa district, which includes the archaeological fortress of Bashatania, the juvenile prison, the shrine of Yahya Abu al-Qasim, the Nineveh Health Department, and the Church of Maria,” said Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Amir Rashid Yaarallah in a statement broadcast on state television.
He added that Iraqi forces also tightened their grip on the fifth bridge over the Tigris, and fought with the forces fighting in the area of Ras al-Kor within the old city on the western side of the city.
With control of the fifth bridge, Iraqi forces have taken control of the five bridges linking the eastern and western sides of the Tigris River, which runs through the city center and cuts it in half.
But the bridges are unusable as a result of air strikes by coalition aircraft when Iraqi forces were fighting on the eastern side of the city months ago.
Ahmed Rajeh, the army’s captain, said the progress made by Iraqi forces today had enabled it to cordon off the Old City completely.
He added that the forces are surrounding the second stronghold of the organization from all sides, the medical complex, where the organization shows violent resistance, especially sniper deployed over the buildings.
The old Mosul area is the main challenge for the Iraqi forces in the campaign to liberate the city, because of its narrow and narrow alleys, making military vehicles unable to enter, as well as the overcrowding of civilians.
Mosul is a city with a Sunni population. It is the second largest city in Iraq. It was dominated by the summer summer of 2014. During a military campaign launched last October, Iraqi forces managed to recover the eastern half of the city and began on 19 February last year. West Side Battles.