Iraqi fighter jets destroyed nine vehicles boarded by Islamic State members while attempting to flee western Mosul’s town of Tal Afar to Syria, al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) media said to iraqinews.com.
The outlet said the strike came as PMUs advanced further towards liberating areas south of the strategic Islamic State stronghold, coincidentally with advances by Iraqi government forces from southwestern Mosul toward the city’s airport and military camp.
Al-Hashd media service also said PMUs foiled an attack by Islamic State militants on Um al-Shababit village, eradicating the entire assaulting group.
Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led military coalition and paramilitary troops, launched an offensive in October to drive IS out of Mosul, the extremist group’s largest stronghold in Iraq which they conquered in 2014. The eastern area was recaptured late January.
Setting on the battle for western Mosul, Iraqi and coalition generals, who estimate the number of militants there by 3000, predicted a tougher battle, having to ensure the safety of at least 750.000 civilians trapped by IS in dense residential areas containing more than 100.000 buildings.
On Wednesday, PMUs said they consummated the recapture of a route linking Tal Afar with suburban Mosul. The force declared last year it had severed IS supply lines from Syria to Tal Afar.