Iraqis capture ISIS headquarters in Mosul in surprise raid

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Iraqi Security Forces. File photo: Reuters

ARA News

The Iraqi army is advancing rapidly in Western Mosul, controlling at least 50 to 60 per cent of Western Mosul. On Tuesday, the Joint Operations Command announced the liberation of Dandan and Dawasa, which includes an important administrative ISIS headquarters.

“Iraqi forces advancing in west Mosul and announce liberation of governance complex. This was the administrative HQ for ISIS terrorists,” Brett McGurk, the US envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition said.

The governance complex was used as an administrative headquarters and a Sharia court by Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi met with army commanders in Mosul city after the rapid advances, to discuss the final phase of the Mosul operation and current progress.

Abadi also traveled to Erbil to met with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) president Masoud Barzani to discuss the Mosul operation and future relations, according to Hemin Hawrami, a senior advisor to president Barzani.

Analysts expect that the operation could be finished in a month or more, although some said it could also last until the summer.

“I think we’re looking into a month, maybe more maybe less,” Rasha Al Aqeedi, an Iraqi Research Fellow at Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center told ARA News.

The operation could help the Iraqi PM Abadi in the next round of Iraq’s Provincial Elections in April 2017, amidst intense political differences among the Shia majority parties.

“Abadi is certainly more popular than Maliki ever has been in Sunni areas. He’s also been smarter in managing Iraq’s foreign affairs,” Al Aqeedi told ARA News.

However, Kirk H. Sowell, a political risk analyst based in Amman, Jordan, said that the former Iraqi PM Maliki is still stronger.

“As for Abadi, it should strengthen him but frankly he’s still playing second fiddle to Maliki despite other victories,” he said.

“It has taken a lot longer than Abadi claimed it would, and despite his claims the army has not performed well,” Sowell told ARA News.

Meanwhile, rumours spread in the Iraqi press that the former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki is suffering from health issues, and could step down from politics.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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