Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi government forces killed a senior media official with the Islamic State in western Mosul and arrested 25 others in the north, an army and police officers said Tuesday.
BasNews quoted Maj. Ali Mohsen, from the army’s Counter-Terrorism Service, saying troops killed Islamic State’s current media official, Jalal Ayoub Shehab, a Syrian national, during battles at Iktisadiyeen district which troops partially recaptured. He added that seven booby-trapped vehicles were also detonated.
Meanwhile, Khaled al-Jawari, a Federal Police colonel, told the website that security forces arrested a 25-member IS cell in al-Sukkar and al-Seddiq districts, north of Mosul. The arrested members had light weapons in their possession, according to the officer.
Iraqi government forces are close to retaking western Mosul and declaring the full recapture of the city that fell in IS grip in 2014. The eastern section was retaken in January.
Earlier on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said Iraqi troops became in control over 89.5 percent of territory at western Mosul, having killed more than 16000 militants since the launch of Mosul operations in October.
Iraqi government forces are eyeing the ancient, densely structured and populated Old City, the place where Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of an “Islamic Caliphate” in 2014. Troops besieged the area for weeks from the south, but turned to the northwestern axis to invade the city earlier this month. IS fighters are believed to have been holding hundreds of thousands at that area as human shields.