“There are still clashes. We entered the university and cleared the technical institute, dentistry and antiquities departments,” Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) told a Reuters reporter in the complex.
“In the coming hours it will be liberated completely,” he said.
CTS troops had gathered in the university canteen. As they unfurled a map of the area, a suspected Daesh drone flew overhead and they shot at it.
Recapturing the university would be a crucial strategic gain and allow Iraqi forces to advance quicker towards the Tigris river, from where they will be able to launch attacks on the city’s west, still all under IS control, military officers say.
The United Nations says the terrorists seized nuclear materials used for scientific research from the university when they overran Mosul and vast areas of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014.
Iraqi forces on Friday seized a government complex — and other sites in eastern Mosul — following clashes with Daesh terrorists, according to an Iraqi army source.
“Army counter-terrorism forces managed to capture the government complex, which includes [Nineveh’s] provincial headquarters,” Army Commander Lieutenant-General Abdul-Amir Yarullah said in a televised statement.
Yarullah added that army forces had entirely “liberated” Mosul’s Al-Faisaliyah district — in which the complex is located — and the nearby Second Bridge, also known as Al-Hurriyah Bridge.
Lieutenant-General Abdul al-Wahab al-Saadi, for his part, a Special Forces commander in the army’s counter-terrorism agency, told Anadolu Agency that army forces had also successfully stormed Mosul University in northern Mosul.
According to the army’s media office, Daesh has begun blowing up bridges on the Tigris River — which runs through the war-battered city — as Iraqi forces register gains on both banks of the river.