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Mosul's last bridge disabled by air strike

The last functioning bridge in Iraq's Islamic State-held city of Mosul has been disabled by an air strike, according to residents.

They said the attack happened at dawn on Monday, forcing residents to cross the river in boats and further disrupting IS's movements.

Iraqi and US-led international coalition officials were not available to comment.

Activists from inside Mosul published pictures on Tuesday night of the metal bridge, known as the Old Bridge, showing its twisted girders sinking into the water as boats were seen ferrying the residents from both banks.

The bridge, which was built during the reign of King Ghazi in the 1930s, is one of the city's best-known landmarks.

The northern city of Mosul had five bridges spanning the River Tigris, which runs through the centre of the city. Four of them have now been bombed in air strikes since the massive government military operation began on October 17, while one was disabled weeks before the operation began.

The Tigris runs through the centre of Mosul, and until now most of the fighting has been on the eastern bank. Iraqi forces are expected to use pontoon bridges when they reach the river as they have done in previous military operations in other areas.

Fighting on all fronts, but focused mainly on Mosul's eastern edge, has slowed recently as suicide car bombings, snipers and concern over the safety of civilians have hampered the Iraqi troops' advance toward the city centre.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said IS militants have launched more than 900 car bombs against Iraqi troops so far during the Mosul operations, but did not give details on how many were driven by suicide bombers or were blown up before reaching their targets.

Mr al-Abadi added that the offensive "is continuing ... God willing, there will be good news in the coming days".

Mosul, about 225 miles (360km) north-west of Baghdad, is Iraq's second-largest city and the last major IS urban bastion of their self-styled caliphate in the country.

It fell into the hands of IS militants during their June 2014 onslaught which left the group in control of large swathes of northern and western Iraq.

AP

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