Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Five Iraqi soldiers and 12 Islamic State suicide bombers died in 24 hours of fighting in western Mosul as operations near a total recapture of the city, according to police officers.
BasNews quoted Brig. Gen. Mohamed al-Jubouri, from the Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response forces, saying that the troops repelled a fierce attack by IS militants who used 20 booby-trapped vehicles. Twelve militants were killed in the attack which targeted troops at Tamuz, Mesherfa, Najjar and al-Rifaie neighborhoods.
Mohamed Jassem, a police officer from Mosul, also told BasNews that five police officers were killed and eight others were wounded Thursday when drones guided by Is militants bombed their deployment in al-Marir village, south of the city.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Tuesday its forces took over 89.5 percent of territories in western Mosul, adding it had killed more than 16000 militants since the launch of Mosul operations in October.
Some generals were quoted saying they predict the city to be free before the end of this month.
Iraqi government forces are eyeing the ancient, densely structured and populated Old City, the place where Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of an “Islamic Caliphate” in 2014. Troops besieged the area for weeks from the south, but turned to the northwestern axis to invade the city earlier this month. IS fighters are believed to have been holding hundreds of thousands at that area as human shields.