Iraqi General: Mosul Battle to End 'Within Days'

Iraqi General: Mosul Battle to End 'Within Days'

Iraqi General: Mosul Battle to End 'Within Days'

"Fighting is very intense in the Old City and civilians are at extreme, nearly unimaginable risk".

Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a top commander in the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), which sent forces to fight the ISIL gunmen, said the attackers had infiltrated the neighbourhood by blending in with returning displaced civilians.

Their home collapsed in a bomb attack - leaving relatives buried under the rubble - as Iraqi forces and Daesh militants battle it out over control of the Old City.

Federal Police and elite CTS units in Mosul are attacking IS fighters in the Old City's maze of narrow alleyways, together with the army and the interior ministry's Emergency Response Division (ERD).

The militants last week destroyed the historic Grand Al Nuri Mosque and its leaning minaret from which their leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared a caliphate spanning parts of Iraq and Syria three years ago.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters from Baghdad via teleconference, the spokesman said the Iraqis have pushed their way into the old city sector and isolated Al-Jamhara Hospital, which severed the two remaining ISIS-held areas of western Mosul.

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USA -backed Iraqi special forces said Sunday they've retaken two-thirds of the Old City, but it's come at a cost.

Displaced Iraqi girls who fled their homes pose as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr, in Mosul, Iraq June 25, 2017.

More than 100,000 civilians, of whom half are children, are trapped in the crumbling old houses of the Old City, with little food, water or medical treatment.

"However, if there was any doubt in Iraqi resolve, in their ability to quickly rebound from adversity, all you need is to go to [eastern] Mosul", he noted.

"We can confirm the al-Nuri mosque was destroyed", the Washington Post reported the US-led global coalition as saying. Some played on old swings and others with toy guns and rifles, which were among the toys allowed by ISIL militants after they took over the city in June 2014.

"This attack shows that they will soon be defeated in Mosul".

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Yet around 50,000 civilians remain trapped in the Old City with any strikes in the packed neighbourhood likely to cause casualties.

Faruq is located on the opposite side of the historic Nuri Mosque, which was destroyed by ISIS last week. however, the militant group still control the site of the mosque.

IS-held Mosul has shrunk to just about 2 square kilometers in the ancient Old City district.

Even with the possibility of an imminent Iraqi takeover of Mosul, one USA analyst voiced concerns that Baghdad is not prepared to assume governmental control of the city. There has been no confirmation of Russian reports over the past days that he has been killed.

Iraq captured east Mosul in late January.

Thousands of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition warplanes and military advisers, have been deployed.

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