Iraqi soldiers on Wednesday recaptured a prison outside Mosul that had been controlled by Islamic State jihadists and reportedly used for hundreds of executions, the Iraqi military said.
The securing of the jail came as part of a mission to retake west Mosul that began last month. The eastern side of the city was liberated prior to the start of the mission on the west side.
Human Rights Watch says the Badush prison was used by IS militants to execute as many as 600 people and house abducted Yazidi women.
News of the prison’s recapture comes a day after Iraq’s military seized control of the main government buildings in Mosul back from IS militants.
Bridges connecting the two sides of the city have been badly damaged or destroyed, but the Iraqi military says it now controls the western side of two of the bridges, raising the prospect they could be used to more easily move troops and supplies.
The Iraqi military also announced Wednesday that it took back control of a road leading west out of Mosul, effectively isolating western Mosul from the flashpoint town of Tal Afar.
Meanwhile, the IS group has claimed responsibility for several car bomb attacks in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, over the past few weeks, after losing control of eastern Mosul, and as it continues to lose ground on the western side.
The militant group swept into Mosul in mid-2014 as it took control of large areas in northern and western Iraq, as well as eastern Syria. Recent advances by the Iraqi army have served as a severe blow to the extremists, who at one point controlled about a third of Iraq’s territory.