Friday, 24 November, 2017

Iraqi army says "Daesh is finished" in Mosul

Iraqi forces seize more ground in Mosul from Islamic State, PM sees victory soon Iraqi army says "Daesh is finished" in Mosul
Sammy Stanley | 29 June, 2017, 09:06

Federal policemen carry food to the frontline during fighting against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, June 26, 2017.

Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Shaker Jawdat said on Tuesday that his forces had liberated the ancient al-Ziwani Mosque in the Old City's southwestern area of Bab al-Baid, and forced militants out of the historic site, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.

A US -led worldwide coalition is providing air and ground support in the 8-month-old offensive to drive the militants from their de facto capital in Iraq.

"As our heroic forces are closer to declaring final victory over the Daesh (ISIS) gangs, I offer my most honest congratulations for Eid al-Fitr", Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement.

The Islamic State last week destroyed Mosul's al-Hadba minaret and the 845-year-old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, or Noor mosque, where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have declared the Islamic State caliphate.

The mosque's destruction, while condemned by Iraqi and United Nations authorities as another cultural crime by the jihadists, gave troops more freedom to press their onslaught as they no longer had to worry about damaging the ancient site.

Exit routes have been opened up for hundreds of civilians to get out as the Iraqis fight to retake the quarter from the Islamist terror group.

In Syria, ISIL's former stronghold is almost encircled by a US-backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

Islamic State has lost about half the Old City since the battle for the historic district started ten days ago.

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By this weekend, the area still under IS control was less than 2 square km (0.77 sq miles) in extent, skirting the western bank of the Tigris River that bisects Mosul.

As the Iraqi forces are closing in on eradicating Daesh terrorists from the provincial capital of Nineveh province, Mosul, residents living on the western side of the city are struggling with their under-standard humanitarian conditions.

On Sunday, Iraq's armed forces blocked a major wave of attacks by Islamic State suicide bombers outside the Old City of Mosul. "Hundreds of civilians, including children, are being shot".

CTS forces surrounded the area, backed by the army and the air force, and "killed numerous IS fighters", a statement said, adding "the situation is now under control".

Sporadic sniper fire could be heard, and an incoming rocket, as the troops used a drone to survey the insurgents' defences.

Iraqi forces took the eastern side of Mosul from Daesh in January, after 100 days of fighting.

A senior Russian diplomat on June 22 said al-Baghdadi was likely killed in a Russian air strike, although the claim has yet to be confirmed.

On Sunday the Joint Operations Command coordinating the war against the jihadists said some IS fighters "tried to infiltrate into the Al-Tanak" neighbourhood in west Mosul.

While the destruction of the mosque demonstrates how much the security forces have achieved, Martin said, "we don't want to lose sight of the fact that there is a lot more work to be done".

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