SHAFAQNA – Bomb attacks at a wedding party near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit have claimed the lives of nearly two dozen people as government forces push ahead with their battle to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from Takfiri Daesh terrorists.
A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said four assailants detonated their explosive belts in quick succession in the path of a wedding convoy at Saad village of Hajjaj, district north of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers northwest of the capital, Baghdad, late on Wednesday, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.
The source added that at least 23 people were killed in the bomb blasts, while 20 others sustained injuries.
Even though no group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings, they bear the hallmarks of those carried out by Daesh extremists.
Daesh under pressure in Mosul
The act of terror came only hours after Commander of Nineveh Liberation Operation Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah announced the liberation of Shuhada al-Oula neighborhood in Mosul.
He added that Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces have raised the national Iraqi flag over a number of buildings in the area.
An unnamed security official also said police forces have arrested three Daesh militants, including a cameraman, in Mosul’s Zahra neighborhood.
Moreover, soldiers from the 9th Armored Division of the Iraqi Army and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units – commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi – recaptured the main prison in Badush village northwest of Mosul, and raised the Iraqi flag over its building.
Security forces also wrested full control over al-Atshana Hills on the southwestern outskirts of Mosul.
Separately, spokesman for the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq volunteer forces Jawad al-Talibawi said his fellow fighters had established complete control over Tal Khazaf and Barnajah villages west of Mosul.
CTS forces then liberated al-Mansour and al-Shuhada al-Thaniya districts of Mosul.
The media bureau of Hashd al-Sha’abi also announced in a statement on Wednesday that the pro-government fighters had managed to take control of al-Sabouniyah train station linking the western side of Mosul to Tal Afar city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.
Furthermore, Lieutenant General Yarallah said in a press statement that troops from the 9th Armored Division and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had recaptured the road connecting Mosul to Kasak district near Tal Afar.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched the offensive to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last major city stronghold in the country, last October and since then they have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched the battle in the west on February 19.