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  World   Middle East  04 Jul 2017  Battle for Mosul nears end; Iraq rejoices

Battle for Mosul nears end; Iraq rejoices

Published : Jul 4, 2017, 7:03 am IST
Updated : Jul 4, 2017, 7:04 am IST

Cornered ISIS makes last stand, launches suicide attacks.

Iraqi security personnel dance with children in Mosul. (Photo: AFP)
 Iraqi security personnel dance with children in Mosul. (Photo: AFP)

Mosul/Erbil: ISIS fighters were battling to hold on to the last few streets under their control in the Old City of Mosul on Monday, making a doomed last stand in their former Iraqi stronghold.

In fierce fighting, Iraqi Army units forced the insurgents back into a shrinking rectangle no more than 300 by 500 meters beside the Tigris river, according to a map published by the military media office.

Smoke covered parts of the Old City, which were rocked by airstrikes and artillery salvos through Monday morning.

The number of ISIS militants fighting in Mosul has dwindled from thousands at the start of the government offensive more than eight months ago to a mere couple of hundred now, according to the Iraqi military.

With its territory shrinking fast, ISIS has been stepping up suicide attacks in the parts of Mosul. On Sunday, a male suicide bomber dressed in a woman's veil killed 14 people west of Baghdad.

Iraqi forces said that they expected to reach the Tigris and regain full control over the city by the end of this week. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is expected to visit Mosul to formally declare victory, and a week of nationwide celebrations is planned.

Mosul is by far the largest city captured by ISIS. It was here, nearly three years ago to the day, that it declared the founding of its “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria.

With Mosul gone, its territory in Iraq will be limited to areas west and south of the city.    

Tags: isis, mosul, iraqi army