Iraqi security forces took control of the state television building after seizing an eastern district of the city of Mosul on Tuesday.

Iraqi counter-terrorism forces advance in Gogjali district of Mosul in northern Iraq, on Nov. 1, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Iraqi counter-terrorism forces advance in Gogjali district of Mosul in northern Iraq, on Nov. 1, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

The victory came after more than two weeks of a massive offensive to dislodge Islamic State (IS) militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.

“The Iraqi counter-terrorism forces, backed by international coalition and Iraqi aircraft, managed to seize Gogjali district on the eastern edge of the city and took control of the state TV building,” Lieutenant General Abul-Amir Yarallah said in a statement issued by the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

The troops are in heavy clashes with IS militants as they are trying to extend foothold inside the part of the city on the eastern side of the Tigris River, according to the statement.

The latest advance came one day after the Iraqi forces began their final push to enter the urban areas in Mosul with the support of artillery attacks and airstrikes on IS positions.

Security forces also freed two villages and nearby Shalalat area, some 7 km northeast of Mosul, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Other troops are coming closer to the southeastern edge of Mosul after clearing the villages of Twila and Sharezad, the source said, adding that they could make a new push in the coming hours into the Jadidat al-Mufti district in the southeast of the city.

IS militants, however, have been fighting off the offensive with mortar fire, rocket bombs, sniper attacks and suicide car bombs, the source said.

On Oct. 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city.

Since then, the Iraqi security forces have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city, preparing for a major battle to storm the city and drive out IS militants.

Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq’s northern and western regions.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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