The city in the north of the country has been under the terror network’s control since mid-2014, but in October a large-scale campaign was launched to eradicate their presence on Iraqi soil once and for all.
During Friday’s night-time raid elite Iraqi forces managed to secure the key district, putting them in a position to take higher ground nearby, according to an army spokesman.
It comes days after Iraqi forces began the second phase of a push to retake the last major ISIS stronghold in Iraq.
“Our troops killed around 44 Daesh militants while advancing on the eastern side of Mosul,” Major General Maan al-Saadi said.
“Most Daesh elements escaped towards the Tigris River as the military units advanced through the city,” he added.
The army has since said that its troops had raised the national flag over the city having captured al-Muthana.
Pro-government forces launched a large-scale campaign in October to defeat the terror network
Counter-terrorism service (CTS) forces were the closest they had been to the Tigris inside Mosul and closing in on a strategic bridge, the spokesman said. The U.S.-backed operation to recapture the city was launched nearly three months ago.
Counter-Terrorism Service spokesman Sabah al-Numan told Reuters that soldiers had attacked by night for the first time, cross a tributary of the River Tigris.
“We used special equipment and had the element of surprise – the enemy did not expect us to mount a night offensive because all previous offensives were during the day,” he added.
An ISIS suicide bomber had blown himself up at a government military meeting in the area, killing three and injuring nine, according to local security forces.
Iraqi troops, backed by helicopters, swiftly rid the area of ISIS fighters from the village in the northern province of Salah al-Din.
“Six Daesh elements were also killed,” an Iraqi official added, “the situation is completely under the security forces’ control.”
On Wednesday, Lieutenant General Steve Townsend, the commander of the US-led coalition against ISIS, said Iraqi forces were gaining momentum in Mosul, after the campaign had almost ground to a halt by December because of fierce resistance by the terrorists.
The militants have carried out a string of counter-attacks in different parts of Iraq, including Baghdad, in an attempt to hamper the Iraqi military’s campaign in Mosul.
The offensive was launched on October 17 and involves fighters from Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesman and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition warplanes and military advisers.
More than 100,000 people have fled their homes in the area in and around Mosul, with the UN warning that this figure is likely to rise as pro-government forces press on with the fight.