Iraqi forces make further gains against the Daesh extremist group in western Mosul as tens of thousands of fighters are punching through the defenses of the extremists to expel them from their last major urban stronghold in the country.
Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat told Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network that Iraqi rapid response teams had managed to regain full control of Hawi al-Jawsaq area in the western outskirts of Mosul on Saturday morning.
Later in the day, the media bureau of Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi – announced in a statement that the pro-government fighters, supported by numerous army brigades and air force fighter jets, had liberated eight villages expanding as vast as 40 square kilometers west of Mosul.
The statement added that Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had established full control over the villages of al-Aziziyah, Tal al-Zalat, Umm al-Masayid, Greater al-Abra and four others near the city of Tal Afar, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
It further noted that as many as 1,200 civilians had been freed in the aftermath of the operations.
The Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters also destroyed seven car bombs, and seized military equipment and several weapons from Daesh extremists, who fled the areas.
Meanwhile, Shifa Gardi, a correspondent and anchor for Iraq’s Kurdish-language Rudaw news television network, has been killed while reporting on intense clashes between advancing Iraqi forces and Daesh fighters.
She lost her life in a roadside bomb explosion in Mosul on Saturday afternoon, and her cameraman Younis Mustafa was injured in the same attack. He was transferred to Erbil, the nearby capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region where the television channel is headquartered.
Rudaw described 30-year-old Gardi as one of its most daring journalists in a statement published on social media.
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