Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Unknown gunmen shot dead a preacher from the Islamic State and a companion in western Mosul, sources said as government troops become closer to the group’s strongholds in central Mosul.
Alsumaria News quoted a local source saying that “Abu Huthaifa”, an Iraqi, was gunned down along with another member in Zanjili, a district north of Mosul’s Old City, the target of current Iraqi forces operations in western Mosul.
According to the source, the attack, having occurred in areas under IS control prompted the extremist group to launch searches for perpetrators and arrest some suspects.
Earlier on Monday, Iraqi forces recaptured recaptured al-Sumoud district before storming the nearby al-Mansour, all near the city center.
Old Mosul is a major target for U.S.-backed Iraqi forces seeking to clear the western side of the city from militants. It is home of a government compound, the recapture of which is believed to be highly decisive in ending the campaign in the government forces’ favor.
Shortly earlier, news reports quoted security officials saying the forces took over a major bridge leading to the Old City.
Mosul fell to IS militants in 2014, and had been proclaimed as the capital of the group’s “Islamic Caliphate” before Iraqi forces retook the eastern part late January.
Iraqi and coalition generals had predicted the city to be retaken within six months from the start of the operations in the west.