U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured their second bridge across the Tigris River in the battle for Mosul, the last major stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) militant group in the country, Reuters reports.
Iraqi troops on March 6 took the Al-Hurriya bridge, which leads to the old city center currently held by IS fighters, Reuters said, citing a military media officer.
Iraqi forces on February 27 captured another bridge farther south as the U.S.-backed troops battle to liberate the western portion of Iraq’s second-largest city.
Mosul's five bridges over the Tigris have been rendered unusable in the fighting.
But Iraqi troops hope to capture and repair the bridges, which would open additional supply lines from the government-held eastern section of Mosul.
Backed by U.S. air strikes, and bolstered by Shi’ite militias and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Iraqi forces in October launched their initial assault to force IS out of the city they have held since 2014.
The government declared the eastern part of Mosul liberated in January but said the western section, with its crowded, narrow streets, would be more difficult to take.
The offensive on the western section began February 19.
U.S. officials said on February 20 that some 2,000 IS fighters were still entrenched in the city.
Some 750,000 civilians remain in the city, Iraq’s second-largest and the last IS stronghold in the country.
Based on reporting by Reuters