Iraqi forces capture Mosul airport

Mosul operation

Update: Iraqi forces have taken the Mosul airport from the Islamic State (IS) group after four hours of fighting. The victory is seen as an important development in the onslaught to the western half of the city, still under IS control.

Iraqi forces, including Kurdish peshmerga and Shi’ite militias, are closing in Mosul airport and the nearby Ghozlani military base on Thursday morning, AP reported.

“Our forces started a major operation early this morning to storm the airport of Mosul and the Ghozlani base to dislodge Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists. We can confirm that the Mosul airport militarily has fallen and it’s a matter of short time to fully control it,” a military official told Iraq state TV.

The operation to capture the remaining western half of Mosul from the Islamic State group was launched on 19 February and has been moving forward steadily with the support of the global anti-IS coalition.

The UN has raised concerns about the welfare of some 650,000 people trapped in the city. The international organisation said in January that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul so far were civilians.

The IS group overran Mosul in 2014 with little resistance from Iraqi troops and are thought to have obtained much of their initial arsenal from the city.