Erbil, Iraq – The government of Iraq along with the spokesperson for the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) confirmed on late Thursday that elements of the Iraqi Special Forces with U.S. Special Forces ‘advisors’ in direct support of the specialized Iraqi unit have retaken large portions of the Mosul International Airport from Islamic State fighters, which have been entrenched within the airport since 2014. Supported by U.S. close air support the coalition of Iraqi Rapid Reaction forces, federal police, and elements of the U.S. ‘Green Beret’ trained and advised Iraqi Counter Terrorism Force (ICTF) executed a ‘three-pronged attack’ against ISIS strongholds along three different fronts around the Mosul airport.
As the attack collapsed onto buildings within the airport, fighters from the Islamic State offered little resistance and fled from their positions to several larger buildings and dug in for their final showdown. Elements of the ICTF along with their U.S. Special Forces advisors advanced on the remaining Islamic State fighters and called in U.S. close air support along with Iraqi Army attack helicopters to pound the ISIS fighters into submission. As Iraqi helicopters circled above firing down onto Daesh within the Ghazlani military base in the southwestern portion of the airport complex, an Iraqi Special Forces commander reported that “Daesh [IS] resistance is not inconsiderable, but they are trying to save their strength for inside the city.” A commander from the Iraqi Rapid Reaction forces claimed that the Iraqi coalition also successfully captured a rather large weapons cache within an airport warehouse along with an Islamic State headquarters and barracks. The reaction force commander went on to give thanks for the minimal loss of life by his troops and the operations rapid success stating: “Right now, thank God, we’re inside Mosul airport and in front of its terminal. Our troops are liberating it.”
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