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Iraq attempts to seize last Daesh positions in Mosul

Iraq attempts to seize last Daesh positions in Mosul

At least 13 Iraqi soldiers were killed in a Islamic State ambush in western Mosul on Sunday, an Iraqi officer said.

Sunday's losses came one day after Iraqi forces launched an operation to capture the last Islamic State pocket in western Mosul.

Sha'aban Nasiri, a former major-general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was killed in battle near Mosul, Joint Operation Command spokesman Col. Mohammed Ibrahim. A number of other houses in the area were also destroyed by clashes between IS fighters and USA -backed Iraqi forces around the same time, according to residents interviewed by The Associated Press, but the Pentagon investigation looked into the single March 17 airstrike that hit at 8:24 a.m. local time.

The Pentagon released the March 17 findings Thursday, reporting the airstrike targeted two IS snipers in a single building, setting off a series of explosions that killed 105 civilians.

The Iraqi air force dropped leaflets yesterday urging residents in the enclave to flee, although humanitarian groups fear for the safety of civilians trying to escape.

In 2014, ISIS took control of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

"We are noticing that the closer we get to the Old City, the greater the resistance", he added, looking over the roughly 8 square kilometers (3 square miles) of Mosul territory still in IS hands on a satellite mapping app.

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Iraqi forces launched their final push to reclaim the last districts of Mosul still under Islamic State control on Saturday, considered the most hard stage of this battle against the militants now in its eighth month.

The U.N. estimated that as many as 200,000 people may try to leave in the coming days, while Save the Children warned that fleeing civilians could be caught in the crossfire, leading to "deadly chaos". The move is an abrupt shift from past instructions that have mostly told civilians to stay in place until the fighting is over.

Iraqi forces backed by the worldwide coalition have been fighting to drive out the IS from western Mosul, but several neighbourhoods, including the densely-populated old city centre, are still under the group's control.

Iraqi forces seized the eastern portion of Mosul in January, but the western portion half has proven to be a much more hard fight, and one that does not appear to be coming to an end any time soon.

The new push of the paramilitary forces began late Wednesday night and reportedly freed many villages scattered in north and west of Baaj.

The United Nations has said the battle has left more than 8,000 civilians dead or wounded, but that figure only comprises people transferred to medical facilities. "But, please stop the airstrikes, there are already enough bodies under the rubble".


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