Mosul (IraqiNews.com) The Iraqi army said Sunday 2900 Islamic State members were killed over the past few days in western Mosul as U.S.-backed operations continue to clear the remaining districts of the region from militants.
Sabah al-Noaman, spokesperson of the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, said the announced “preliminary” toll was the result of fierce encounters between the group and Iraqi forces over the past four days at the Tenek and Abar districts, both recaptured recently by the government troops.
Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January, and started a new offensive in February to retake the west. The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said Thursday its forces had recaptured 60% of the western flank of Mosul from Islamic State militants.
Late March, the international coalition estimated the number of Islamic State fighters in western Mosul by at least 1000.
Battles are currently most intense around Mosul’s densely populated and narrowly structured Old City district, where police forces cautiously approach the grand mosque where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of the group’s rule. While admitting that battles in the western side of Mosul proved more difficult that those in the east, Iraqi and coalition commanders said IS’s influence was receding as many top leaders were either counted dead or tracked escaping the battlefield.