Iraqi forces get an ‘iron’ grip over Mosul battle

Iraqi forces get an ‘iron’ grip over Mosul battle
Prime Minister of Iraq Haider Al-Abadi. (AFP file photo)
Updated 15 March 2017

Iraqi forces get an ‘iron’ grip over Mosul battle

Iraqi forces get an ‘iron’ grip over Mosul battle

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said that the offensive to recapture Mosul from Daesh was in its final stages.

Speaking at a news conference, he warned the insurgents that they must surrender or be killed.

 “The battle now is in the final stages. Daesh become day after day surrounded inside a tight area and they are in their final days,” Al-Abadi said.

He also pledged to treat the families of Daesh fighters fairly.

“Let me be very clear, we will preserve families of Daesh who are civilians but we will punish the terrorists and bring them to justice if they surrender,” he said. “They are cornered and if they will not surrender they will definitely get killed.”

Al-Abadi said he would visit Washington next week and meet US President Donald Trump to discuss the war. 

Government forces took control of a main bridge over the Tigris on Wednesday and advanced toward the mosque where the group’s leader declared a caliphate in 2014, federal police said.

The seizure of the Iron Bridge, linking eastern Mosul with the militant-held Old City on the west side, means the government holds three of the five bridges over the Tigris and bolsters Al-Abadi’s assertion that the battle is reaching its final stages.

Nearly 100,000 people have poured out of west Mosul in less than three weeks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. Between Feb. 25 and Wednesday, more than 97,000 people have been displaced from west Mosul, the IOM said on its Twitter account.