Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi police said they killed 60 Islamic State militants on Monday during incursions in western Mosul, including a senior member.
Federal Police chief, Lt. Gen Shaker Jawdat, said his forces killed 60 IS members while advancing in al-Farouq, a district near the Old City’s Nuri al-Kabir Mosque. He said the incursion was backed by fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition and artillery strikes.
Those killed included Aziz Fares al-Anzi, the group’s former chief vigilante for southern Mosul’s town of Qayyara, according to Jawdat.
He added that 13 booby-trapped vehicles were destroyed while booby-traps in houses were deactivated.
Iraqi government troops, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of battles. They charged at the western side in February.
The Joint Operations Command said earlier this week its forces were controlling 60 percent of western Mosul. Police forces said Sunday they fully besieged the strategic Old City, home of the mosque where IS first declared the establishment of its rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Mosul is Islamic State’s largest stronghold in Iraq, and losing the city would represent the strongest blow to the group which is also losing ground in neighboring Syria.
Iraqi and coalition commanders, while admitting fierce resistance from IS, say the group has no other option than to fight to death, saying they entirely encircled the group with no where to run to Syria.