Iraqi forces have mounted a major military operation to retake the strategic militant-held airport in the northern city of Mosul days after they began a new phase of the battle to drive the Daesh terror group out of its last urban stronghold in the Arab county.
Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat announced the news in a statement on Thursday, saying that members of the Iraqi federal police and rapid response forces are engaged in the multi-pronged offensive to liberate the airport, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.
He said government troops are receiving support from Iraqi helicopter gunships and artillery units, stressing that the bulk of Daesh fortifications has been destroyed so far.
Major General Najim al-Jabouri, the head of the Operations Command in Nineveh Province, of which Mosul is the capital, also pointed out that Iraqi forces are advancing to establish control over Ghazlani airbase.
The military site lies near Mosul and is located some 400 kilometers (248 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad.
"Our forces will prevail and liberate the Mosul airport as soon as possible,” Jabouri said. "Just like Qayyarah Airfield, we will take advantage of the Mosul airport to attack Daesh.”
Since earlier this week, Iraqi forces, backed by fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, have been closing in on the Daesh-led western half of Mosul after dealing severe blows to the terror group on the eastern front.