By Prudence Arobani
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters have ceased fighting and are on the run as Iraqi security forces are finishing clearing operations in eastern Mosul, Pentagon Press Operations Director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said.
Davis said that ISIL fighters are moving to Mosul’s north bank of the Tigris River to cross the waterway by boat to reach western Mosul.
“I can tell you it’s a great day not to be a member of the ISIL navy.
“We destroyed another 10 boats on the Tigris River today for 143 boats total.
“Our message to ISIL is: ‘We will not allow you to get away to the other side of the river and set up shop there’,” the spokesman said.
He said another significant Iraqi security force operation is underway in the region, Operation Desert Leopard, where the Iraqis are working very methodically by starting in Ramadi and going up the Euphrates River Valley to Haditha, while clearing the area.
“It’s been a good operation that’s driving ISIL back,” he said.
In Yemen, the U.S. conducted airstrikes from Jan. 20 to 22 in al-Bayda against al-Qa-da in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives, killing five al-Qaida members in three days, Davis said.
“AQAP remains a significant threat to the region and the United States,” he said.
“Al-Qaida’s presence has a destabilizing effect on Yemen in addition to its using the unrest there to provide a haven from which to plan future attacks against the United States and other interests,” the spokesman said.
“We will continue to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qaida and its remnants, and we remain committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe havens regardless of its locations,” Davis said.
The strikes conducted by the U.S. continue to diminish AQAP’s presence in the region, the spokesman said.