Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Three Iraqi soldiers were killed while repelling an attack by Islamic State militants at a highway in western Mosul, a military source was quoted saying Sunday.
Shafaaq news website quoted the source saying that the militants attacked the highway between Badush and the IS stronghold town of Tal Afar with four booby-trapped vehicles. He added that three soldiers died when the militants blew up the vehicles.
Iraqi army forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, recaptured eastern Mosul from Islamic State members in January after three months of fighting. A complementary offensive launched in February to retake the western region.
Iraqi generals say they control 70 percent of the western side of Mosul, and that the total of territory held by IS in Iraq is less than seven percent.
The government troops are still struggling to purge the Old City, home of the Grand Nuri Mosque where Islamic State supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the establishment of the group in 2014.
Coalition commanders estimate the number of remaining IS fighters in Mosul by less than 1000. While those are facing at least 100.000 government and paramilitary soldiers, it is their deployment within civilian communities that has delayed the elimination of the group.