Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Three Islamic State leaders were killed escaping western Mosul to its eastern side via the Tigris River, a police source was quoted saying.
Nineveh police captain, Saeed Najm, told BasNews that the trio was escaping through the river, which bisects the city, towards al-Faisaliya neighborhood.
Najm said security forces had tightened scrutiny on Tigris banks to hunt down remnant IS members escaping western Mosul’s Old City.
The Iraqi government declared victory over Islamic State militants in western Mosul earlier this month, saying it concluded more than eight months of battles to recapture the city which the militants held as the capital of their self-styled “caliphate” since 2014. The eastern side of the city was retaken late January.
Following the declaration of victory, Iraqi forces have been in efforts to comb the recaptured areas for remnant IS cells, countering occasional attacks by the group and arresting many hiding among civilian refugees.
IS lost more than 250.000 fighters in the Mosul campaign, according to Iraqi commanders. The group still holds a few holdouts in Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar, all the targets for future offensives by the Iraqi forces, the U.S.-led coalition and pro-government paramilitary troops.