Four IS militants killed as airstrikes bombs their boat in Mosul river

General view of the damaged swimming pool in the five-star Ninewah Oberoi Hotel next to the Tigris river in Mosul, Iraq January 30, 2017. Picture taken January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Nineveh ( Four Islamic State militants were killed on Wednesday when military jets bombed a small boat they were boarding off the western bank of Tigris River in Mosul, Alsumaria News quoted a local source as saying.

Over the past two weeks, Islamic State militants have reportedly made several attempts to cross the river, which bisects the city, to wage attacks against security troops which became in full control over the eastern side since January 24th. Security officials have said they foiled those attacks and killed several militants. The group had lost more than 3000 of its fighters since security operations to retake Mosul launched in October.

The Iraqi government has yet to give directives to the security leaderships to carry on with a ground invasion of Islamic State strongholds in the west. Iraqi and U.S. generals predict more difficult battles there due to the existence of 750.000 civilians in mostly narrow residential areas. Iraqi and international coalition jets have recently bombed militants locations in western Mosul preparing for the next phase of operations.

The conflict in Mosul has forced at least 191.000 civilians to seek shelter at refugee camps, and the United Nations had predicted turmoil to force at least one million people out of home.

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