Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Federal Police forces say they killed 14 Islamic State fighters while invading the group’s last bastion in western Mosul; the Old city, while the army mourned two of its officers who died during battles at the city.
The police command said the militants were killed during an incursion in Zanjili district, north of the Old City, where forces advanced over 250 meters backed by drones.
Dozens of snipers and other troops were deployed south of the Old City to strengthen control on the area’s narrow alleyways, the statement added.
The Joint Operations Command also said a lieutenant colonel and a colonel from the army’s 16th division were killed in combat in Mosul, but did not name a specific location.
Earlier on Saturday, the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, quoting the Joint Operations Command, said joint forces invaded “the remaining non-liberated districts in western Mosul, invading al-Shefa, al-Jamhouri Hospital, Zanjili and al-Sihha al-Oula.
Federal Police chief, Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, said his forces passed the third of Mosul’s five main bridges linking the western side with the east above the Tigris River towards the Old City.
Jawdat said he was confident his forces were able to win the battle as IS starts to lose control over areas near the Hadbaa (leaning) Minaret, referring to the mosque where IS supreme leader declared in 2014 the establishment of the group’s “caliphate” in Iraq.
Iraqi commanders had predicted the battle against IS in Mosul to end before the holy month of Ramadan, which started Saturday.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi command said it moved towards the Old City from the northwest, having besieged the area for weeks from the south.
The United Nations warned last week that 200,000 more civilians could flee Mosul as the battles reach the Old City.