Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed on Tuesday that all of eastern Mosul has been captured from Islamic State, state TV said.
The three months it took the army to reconquer Mosul’s east saw some tough fighting but even deadlier battles are expected on the city’s west bank, which is home to the narrow streets of the Old City and some of IS’s traditional redoubts.
Facing the force across the Tigris river are some of Iraq’s most seasoned elite forces, whose engineers some reports said were already working on assembling pontoon bridges for a cross-river assault.
All bridges across the Tigris in Mosul were either bombed by IS or hit by airstrikes carried out by the US-
The UN estimates that 750,000 people still live in Mosul’s west bank, either because they did not want to leave their homes or were prevented from doing so by IS, which has routinely used civilians as human shields in this conflict.
The recapture of Mosul by Iraqi forces would deal a death blow to the Iraqi part of IS’s caliphate, with the next major target the group’s stronghold of Raqa in neighbouring Syria.