(AhlulBayt News Agency) - "Roughly 65-70 percent of the eastern side [of Mosul] has been liberated," Lieutenant General Talib Shaghati said in an interview in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, late on Wednesday.
In the coming days, the Iraqi forces are expected to reach the Tigris River that divides Mosul in half, Shaghati said, noting that local residents were helping the pro-government fighters in their advances against ISIS terrorists.
"They give us information about the location of the terrorists, their movements and weapons that has helped us pursue them and arrest some and kill others," the commander said and vowed the full liberation of Mosul’s eastern part in the coming few days.
Shaghati further stressed that the city’s western half is still controlled by ISIS terrorists, who are using snipers and car bombs numbering "in the hundreds” in a bid to keep their grip on the area.
"ISIS terrorists devised many plans to obstruct and block us but they failed," the Iraqi official said, stressing that they have intelligence indicating ISIS terrorists' ringleaders and their families are fleeing the Arab country.
Iraqi army troops and allied fighters have been conducting a major offensive since last October to retake Mosul that fell to ISIS terrorists in 2014. They launched the second phase of the operation late last December.
Defeating ISIS terrorists in Mosul would deal a crushing blow to the Takfiri outfit that began its campaign of terror in northern and western Iraq more than two years ago.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said recently that it would take three months to rid the whole country of ISIS terrorists.