Iraqi forces bring down IS defenses in more Mosul Old City areas

A member of the Iraqi Federal Police is seen on an armoured vehicle at the frontline in western Mosul, Iraq May 29, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Mosul ( Iraqi government forces brought down more Islamic State defense lines and killed scores of militants while advancing through the last few meters held by the group in western Mosul, military media said.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said government troops broke down “the strongest” Islamic State defenses in Khatouniya and Ras al-Khour areas in the Old City. It said those defense lines were run by foreign militants.

Forces killed 67 multinational militants and destroyed large stacks of ammunition in Shahwani. More than 72 explosive devices planted in the way of advancing forces were also removed, said the statement.

The Grand Nuri al-Kabir mosque in western Mosul (Google Maps)

Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have been fighting IS out of Mosul since mid October. Last Thursday, troops took over the Old City’s Nuri al-Kabir Mosque where IS first declared its self-styled “caliphate” in 2014.

Commanders say that, currently, there are are no more than 300 militants cornered at areas overseeing the western bank of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul. Senior commanders were quoted saying that government troops were nearly 200 meters away from the river’s bank.

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