Iraqi security forces mobilize in Mosul on February 19, the first day of the offensive to free western Mosul from the Islamic State. On Tuesday, Iraqi security forces said engineers began installing a floating bridge that would allow the military to send supplies from east Mosul to the western half of the city above the Tigris River. Photo by STR/EPA
Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Iraqi security forces said engineers began installing a floating bridge that will link west Mosul, which Iraq is attempting to capture from the Islamic State, with the eastern half of the city, which is already under Iraqi control.
Iraqi Army Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim al-Sabaawi said the floating bridge will link both sides of the Tigris River. Iraqi commanders said they planned to erect a bridge to allow Iraqi forces to send supplies from the east into the west.
There are five bridges linking east and west Mosul over the Tigris River, which separates the two halves of the city. Those bridges have been heavily damaged by the Islamic State and by the U.S-led international coalition against the militant Islamist group.
Iraqi forces control both sides of Mosul's Fourth Bridge, which was damaged by a coalition airstrike in December at the request of the Iraqi government to stop the flow of Islamic State militants into the east.
Iraqi forces on Tuesday are engaged in combat against the Islamic State for control of the southern Mosul district of Wadi al-Hajar. Iraq fully controls the districts of al-Jawsaq, al-Maamun and al-Tayyaran.
Rudaw reported Iraqi forces will soon move to the al-Dawasa district, which is near the Fourth Bridge.
Iraqi on Feb. 19 launched its military offensive to retake western Mosul. The offensive to retake Mosul began on Oct. 17, led by Iraqi security forces and aided by the Kurdish Peshmerga, a Shiite-led militia, and the U.S.-led international coalition. Iraq fully captured east Mosul in late January.