MOSUL, Iraq, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Nov, 2016 ) - Troops of Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service resumed their offensive against the Islamic State group on the streets of Mosul on Friday after several days of relative quiet, officers said. The battle to retake Mosul, the jihadists' last major bastion in Iraq, is now in its fourth week, and while troops have pushed into the east of the city, there are weeks, if not months, of fighting still to go.
"Our forces have begun the attack on Arbajiyah. The clashes are ongoing," Staff Lieutenant Colonel Muntadhar Salem said, referring to an area in the east of the city. The fighting came "after a few days of quiet," he said. Another CTS officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ali Hussein Fadhel, said that the first row of buildings in Arbajiyah had been seized. "We are within firing range of Karkukli but the full attack has not yet started," he said, referring to another eastern neighbourhood.
In a makeshift command post in a two-storey house, a CTS soldier was using an iPad to control a reconnaissance drone on the lookout for jihadist suicide bombers. Iraqi forces launched the huge offensive to retake Mosul on October 17, with Federal and Kurdish regional forces closing in on the city from three sides. Pro-government paramilitaries later began an advance on the town of Tal Afar, which commands the city's western approaches, with the goal of cutting the jihadists off from territory they control in neighbouring Syria. IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in June 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained significant ground.