Iraqi troops say further progress made in central Mosul, IS snipers killed in the west

A military vehicle of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces is seen at the site of car bomb attack during a battle with Islamic State militants in Andalus neighborhood of Mosul, Iraq, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marja

Mosul ( Iraqi troops have gained control on more regions in western Mosul and foiled a suicide attack by Islamic State militants, according to a source from the Iraqi army.
“Security forces were able to control wide parts in al-Zanjili district,” Ali Mohsen, from the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Forces, said. “Explosives were defused. Suicide attacks by IS fighters that sought hindering the advance of security troops were thwarted.”
“Federal Police troops arrested 23 IS members, including leaders, and controlled places that were used by the militants as booby trapping workshops,” he added.
Meanwhile, Federal Police have announced murder of four IS snipers and bombarding of the area surrounding the Grand al-Nuri mosque in the western side of the city.
Located in the Old City, the mosque is the place from which Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave a famous sermon declaring the establishment of the group’s rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
In statements, Lt.Gen. Shaker Jawdat, Federal Police chief, said troops combed areas in Bab al-Jadid and Bab al-Bayd districts looking for sleeper cells and secret tunnels. “Three rest houses including eight booby-trapped motorbikes and explosives were found.
Mosul is the Islamic State’s strongest stronghold in Iraq. Eastern Mosul was recaptured from IS in January, after a US-backed offensive was launched in October. A new offensive started in February to retake the west.