Iraqi forces are engaged in a massive offensive to regain control of Mosul airport, an Iraqi spokesman has said in a statement. Federal police troops have begun the second stage of operations to liberate western Mosul and are focusing their efforts on regaining control of the city’s airport, Lt. General Raid Shakir Jaudat said in a statement Thursday.

Federal police and rapid response forces, backed by drones and heavy artillery, advanced from several positions to storm the strategically key installation, Jaudat added in his statement.

“Federal police forces are able to finish the battle of the airport in a record time,” the statement adds. “We have destroyed the majority of the enemy’s defensive (positions)… we are closely monitoring their movement and military planes are hunting them.”

CNN has long been told by sources inside Mosul that ISIS has sabotaged the airstrip there to prevent its use.

Meanwhile, Iraqi anti-terrorism forces stormed the al-Ghazlani camp, an Iraqi military base just to the west of Mosul airport, Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rasheed Yarallah, commander of Iraqi forces in Nineveh, said in a statement released by the Joint Operation Command.

ISIS took control of the site in the summer of 2014, along with the rest of Mosul. Along with the airport. the camp was also one of the offensive’s objectives in the primary stages of the operation.


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