Iraq army denies taking east Mosul from ISIL

Army retracts earlier announcement that its troops have retaken all of eastern Mosul from ISIL rebels.

Iraqi army members sit on a tank during a battle with Islamic State militants in Talkeef district, north of Mosul
The operation to retake Mosul was launched in October [Khalid Al-Mousily/Reuters]
Correction23 Jan 2017
An earlier version of this article stated that the Iraqi army announced it had retaken eastern Mosul from ISIL. The Iraqi defence ministry has since retracted that statement, as reflected in the article below.

The Iraqi defence ministry has issued a statement retracting an earlier claim in which it announced the “liberation of the eastern part of Mosul” from ISIL, calling it a “mistake”.

On its website on Monday, the army said that the armed forces succeeded in liberating the left bank of the city completely, “after inflicting heavy losses in lives and equipment to the enemy”.

However, in a later statement on Monday, the defence ministry said that the 9th and 16th army brigades were still locked in fierce battles against ISIL in the Al-Rashidiya district, while Iraqi troops were still clearing other neighbourhoods and clashing with pockets of ISIL fighters.

Iraqi military sources told Al Jazeera that ISIL still has a presence in the forest area on the banks of the Tigris River.

READ MORE: Battle for Mosul – Who controls what

Also on Monday, Iraq’s prime minister ordered an investigation into violations of human rights and other abuses purportedly committed by government troops and paramilitary forces battling ISIL for Mosul.

Haider al-Abadi said the probe would examine “cases of kidnappings, mistreatment and violations” against civilians.

Abadi blamed such incidents on “groups that exploit the good name” of Iraqi soldiers and Shia and Sunni paramilitaries.

The statement also said that the abuses were recorded and then posted on social media to “spoil the joy of victory and to defame the real image of the brave security forces and their sacrifices to liberate the land and to maintain security”.

UN demand

Abadi’s statement came days after the United Nations demanded a government probe into a video purportedly showing brutal treatment and killing of at least three ISIL suspects in a recently taken area in eastern Mosul.

The nearly three-minute video showed members of the security forces in regular army and police uniforms dragging and beating the suspects in a residential area before showering them with bullets, as at least two army Humvees, a tank and a personnel carrier were stationed nearby.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies