Iraqi security forces on Thursday retook control of Mosul international airport after heavy clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants, a security source said.
Federal police and elite interior ministry units, known as Rapid Response, have completely liberated the airport in southern Mosul after several hours of fierce clashes with the IS militants, Lt. Gen. Raid Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police forces, told Xinhua.
The troops also freed the adjacent compound of a sugar plant and its residential buildings, Jawdat said.
The battles in the perimeter and airport left 30 IS militants killed and dozens of others wounded, in addition to arresting 20 militants, including non-Iraqi Arabs and foreigners, Jawdat said.
The airport facilities and runway were badly damaged, as the extremist militants bombed all the buildings before they withdrew, he added.
Meanwhile, the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) special forces seized part of Ghazlani military base near the airport after heavy battles with the extremist militants, a security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
In the morning, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Yarallah, from the Joint Operations Command, announced in a statement the start of an assault to retake control of Mosul's international airport and a military base nearby from IS militant group.