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Iraqi Special Forces Capture Central Bank, Justice Court In Mosul

  • RFE/RL

Smoke rises following an air strike in Mosul on March 6, during an offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the western parts of the city from the militant Islamic State group.

Iraqi security forces have captured the central bank's main branch in Mosul, and also seized a building that housed the extremist Islamic State (IS) group's main court of justice, a military spokesman said.

The court was known for delivering harsh sentences, including stonings, throwing people off building roofs, and chopping off hands. The bank had been looted when IS overran Mosul in 2014.

The central bank branch and the justice court are located in the same zone as the main government buildings complex that Iraqi special forces stormed overnight, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi said on March 7.

The overnight raid that led to the capture of government buildings and the surrounding government complex lasted about an hour, he said.

"They killed tens from Daesh," he added, referring to the Islamic State group by one of its Arabic acronyms.

Mosul's main museum,where IS militants infamously filmed themselves smashing priceless artifacts, was also recaptured, Mohammadawi said.

The capture of the government complex allows Iraqi forces to attack militants in the nearby old city center.

The old city lies on the western bank of the Tigris River. Some 750,000 people were estimated to have lived in west Mosul when Iraqi forces began the offensive in this part of the city last month.

The Iraqi military also said its troops now control the western side of a second bridge across the Tigris River.

U.S.-led airstrikes disabled Mosul's five bridges last year in a bid to isolate the militants.

Iraqi troops, supported by a U.S.-led coalition which is providing key air and ground support to the offensive, took the eastern half of the city in January, after 100 days of fighting.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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