Iraqi Army Announces Liberation of Eastern Mosul

Iraqi Security Forces announced Tuesday the liberation of the eastern part of Mosul from ISIS control after more than three months of fighting to retake the city. Iraqi forces, supported by US and coalition troops, now control all of the city east of the Tigris River, including eastern access to all five bridges across the river, according to a Defense Department release. The milestone in the battle for Mosul was achieved as a result of an “increase in tempo” directed by Iraqi security forces, which also allowed coalition forces to conduct airstrikes “at a significantly higher rate,” said Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, commander of coalition forces for Operation Inherent Resolve, in a Pentagon press briefing conducted by telephone Wednesday. Martin said that 100,000 buildings had been cleared by Iraqi forces and coalition partners in the eastern part of the city and that forces were “transitioning from clearance operations to holding.” ISIS fighters “burn and destroy infrastructure” as they abandon parts of the city, Martin said, including the destruction of all five bridges that cross the Tigris. Iraqi Security Forces will have to rebuild the bridges before they can resume their assault in the western part of Mosul. Martin said the ISF “engineering regiment” is able to bridge the river without coalition assistance, an advance over previous capabilities. He also emphasized that the increased operations tempo in the battle for Mosul “was a function of the Iraqis” and their assessment of the operation so far, and not a result of the change in US presidential administrations.