Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi special forces are fighting 100 Islamic State suicide bombers remaining in western Mosul’s Old City district as operations continue to clear the last few kilometers held by the extremist group, according to a senior commander.
Abdul-Wahab al-Saidi, a senior commander of the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, said in press statements Wednesday that only 150 meters remained in IS grip in the Old City, adding that 90 percent of the remaining militants were foreigners.
Major Ali Mohsen, a member of the CTS, was also quoted by BasNews saying that troops took over 90 percent of al-Midan area, which he said hosted the group’s incarceration units and ammunition reservoirs. He added that 40 persons detained by the group at one of its underground tunnels were set free, but were in poor health conditions.
Iraq’s state TV also quoted Abdul-Amir Yarallah, head of the Joint Operation Command’s Nineveh Operations, saying that troops recaptured Khatouniya and Tawaleb, two of the last remaining IS-held areas in the Old City.
Iraqi Federal Police forces also deployed snipers on Wednesday to secure their passageway to the last IS hideout on their axis of operations in the Old City.
The service’s chief, Shaker Jawdat, said in a statement that special forces deployed on the rooftop of a so-called “Shawwaf building” as forces advance towards al-Nujaifi area, the last spot held by IS at the police’s scope of operations in the medieval district.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have been fighting IS out of Mosul since mid October. Last Thursday, troops took over the Old City’s Nuri al-Kabir Mosque where IS first declared its self-styled “caliphate” in 2014.
The war against IS has displaced at least 900.000, according to Iraqi and United Nations authorities, and civilians continued to flee as operations reached the last hideouts in the Old City.