UPDATED: IS control 9% of western Mosul, chemical weapons factory seized

A military vehicle of Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces is seen at the site of car bomb attack during a battle with Islamic State militants in Andalus neighborhood of Mosul, Iraq, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Mosul ( Islamic State militants control only nine percent of territories in western Mosul, a spokesperson of the Iraqi command said on Monday as battles reach the group’s final strongholds.

Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Joint Operations Command, said Iraqi forces invaded the northern section of 17 Tamuz, the first district Islamic State captured in the city in 2014. He added that only a few number of militants are remaining in the city, suffering scarcity of food and combat supplies.

Mosul (google maps)

Meanwhile, Federal Police chief Shaker Jawdat was quoted by al-Arabiya news channel saying his forces killed 173 Islamic State members while invading the Uraybi and Refaie districts. He said forces had also invaded the Ektesadiyeen district.

He said in a statement that police seized the group’s biggest chemical weapons factory run by the group in 17 Tamuz district, defusing several chemical IEDs.

According to Jawdat, 60 senior IS members fled with their families from 17 Tamuz.

Iraqi forces moved through a new front in western Mosul earlier this month, targeting the strategic, IS-held Old City from the northwestern direction, having encircled the city from the southern entrance for weeks.

Iraqi commanders have predicted to recapture Mosul before the holy month of Ramadan, which starts May 27th. Government forces took over eastern Mosul in January.

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