Global News

Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighborhoods from Islamic State

Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighborhoods from Islamic State

Iraqi forces launched an operation to retake Mosul's Old City — the IS group's last stronghold there — just over a week ago, more than eight months after the fight to retake Iraq's second-largest city officially began.

"The operation is continuing to free the remaining parts of the Old City", Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi of the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) told a Reuters correspondent near the frontline in the heart of the Old City.

The battle to rid the rest of the Old City of Daesh is expected to be hard as, according to the Iraqi military, 50,000 residents are still trapped behind the militants' lines. Daesh is still in control of the mosque's ground.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed Syrian coalition of Kurdish and Arab groups, on Sunday took the Al-Qadisia district that is located in the west of Raqqa, after three days of intense fighting.

"The victory announcement will come in a very short time", Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on his website last night.

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The territory that the Islamic State group still holds in Mosul has been reduced to an area that now amounts to about 2 square kilometers (0.8 square miles) in the ancient Old City district.

Mosul, 400 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

The army's 16th infantry division captured Hadarat al-Saada and al-Ahmadiyya, the military said in a statement. They are trying to slow the advance of Iraqi forces by laying booby traps and using suicide bombers and snipers.

A US-led global coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight-month-old offensive.

Aid organizations say Islamic State has stopped many civilians from leaving, using them as human shields. "This attack shows that they will soon be defeated in Mosul".


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