More than 1200 IS militants killed in western Mosul since February

A sniper from Iraq’s Federal Police force takes aim at Islamic State positions from the roof of a house on the frontline in Albu Saif, south of Mosul. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Mosul ( More than 1200 Islamic State militants, including snipers and leaders, have been killed since launch of offensives in western Mosul, Federal Police declared.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lt.Gen. Shaker Jawdat said 27 leaders and 214 snipers were killed, while 300 square kilometers were retaken since operations began in western side of Mosul.

Federal Police troops, according to Jawdat, killed more than 1000 militants, destroyed 865 booby-trapped vehicles and defused 780 landmines since February.

He indicated progress by the troops in al-Shifa district, north of the Old City, trying to reach to the Tigris River bank.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iraqi troops reported progress and announced recapturing of al-Zanjili district, located north of the Old City, which is home to the Grand Nuri al-Kabeer mosque, from which IS Supreme Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared establishing caliphate in 2014.

IS enclave has shrunk to two districts along the western banks of the Tigris river -the Old City center and the Medical City.

Less than 1000 fighters are believed to be remaining in the Old City, according to commanders from the Iraqi leadership and the allied U.S.-led coalition.

In January, the eastern side of Mosul was retaken after three months of battles. Another offensive was launched in February to retake the western side of the city.

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