UPDATED: Iraqi troops take over more areas in Mosul’s Old City

An Iraqi military armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) returns after an assault at the position of the Islamic State militants in western Mosul, Iraq June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Mosul ( Iraqi government forces on Monday took over  more areas in western Mosul’s Old City as operations become a few days away from eliminating Islamic State militants from  the region.

Federal Police chief Shaker Jawdat said in a statement that the forces recaptured Bab al-Sarai area, and raised Iraqi flags above its buildings. He said also troops took over Zul-Tawabeq garage, Khozam Mosque and a “transportation area” in the Old City. Troops were proceeding towards Khaled ibn al-Waleed and Nujaifi areas in the same district, he added.

Also in the Old City, two female suicide bombers from the Islamic State,  who were hiding among a group of fleeing civilians, blew themselves up in Iraqi troops, killing one soldier and wounding several others, according to the Associated Press. Anadolu Agency, on its part, said a Tunisian woman blew herself up while hiding among civilians, killing four and wounding nine, including two Counter-Terrorism Service members.

Generals from the Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition predicted last week to complete the takeover of Mosul within a few days after joint troops managed to liberate the Old City’s Nuri al-Kabir Mosque, the place where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a rostrum to proclaim the establishment of a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.

Some generals were quoted saying there were less than 200 fighters in the city, adding that the forces reached the western bank of the Tigris River. Government troops regained control over the eastern part of the city in January after three months of fighting.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said Saturday that 289 people were killed during violence in Nineveh province, which includes Mosul, during the month of June.

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