Police: Islamic State petroleum official killed with 11 others in western Mosul

Federal police members carry their weapons during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Mosul ( Iraqi Federal Police forces said Friday they killed 12 Islamic State members during clashes with the group in western Mosul.

Police chief Shaker Jawdat said commandos engaged in fierce clashes with IS near al-Jisr (the bridge) region, killing 12 militants, including Abu Maria al-Rusi (Russian), the group’s official in charge of petroleum supplies. He added that eight vehicles belonging to the group were also destroyed in the encounters.

Iraqi government forces, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led coalition, recaptured eastern Mosul from IS in January after three months of fighting, and launched another offensive mid February to retake the western region.

Dozens of Islamic State senior leaders died in airstrikes and ground offensives over the past few days.

Troops have been struggling to fully retake central Mosul’s Old City, a densely-populated and structured area which military generals view as vital for victory over IS.

Maj. Gen. Najm al-Jubouri, head of the Joint Operations Command’s Mosul operations, said in statements on Wednesday that his troops have become in control over 90 percent of the “western axis”, and continue to advance in central Mosul.

Iraqi and coalition generals, though admitting the difficulty of battles in the west due to the civilian population density, have reiterated that IS lost much of its combat powers and territory.

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