MOSUL, Iraq (Kurdistan24) – The Islamic State (IS) on Saturday targeted an Iraqi Air Force helicopter shooting it down in western Mosul.
Iraqi Air Force commander Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said the helicopter was hit in the afternoon during an operation to support the advance of Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi in Mosul.
The Shia force, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), were moving toward the west of Mosul to retake villages still under IS control.
The assault came from a ground attack and the pilot landed safely with no casualties reported, according to Rasool.
On Friday, the PMF launched an offensive to liberate a small village south of Sinjar (Shingal).
In an official statement published on their website, the Shia force revealed they had controlled the main road between Qairawan town and Shingal.
The report also informed that the Shia militia had freed four villages from the insurgent group.
The liberated areas are Umm Hijra, Abid, Mughaira, and Khinaisi near Qairawan in northern Iraq.
IS occupied Qairawan and the areas surrounding Mosul in June 2014 following their emergence in the north of the country.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces backed by the US-led coalition continue their slow advance inside Mosul.
The operation to liberate Mosul was launched in October 2016 and the city’s east was eventually freed in January 2017.
Iraqi forces began an operation to regain control of the west in February.
The area is heavily populated with civilians and narrow streets which prevent the troops from advancing quickly.
(Mewan Dolamari contributed to this report)