News Worms
News Worms

Iraq says forces are 'tens of meters' from retaking Mosul

Iraq says forces are 'tens of meters' from retaking Mosul

Iraqi security forces were expected to take full control of Mosul on Saturday as the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group's defensive lines collapse in its former de facto capital in Iraq, state television reported.

"We are seeing now the last meters and then final victory will be announced", said a TV speaker, citing the channel's correspondents embedded with security forces battling in Islamic State's redoubt in the Old City of Mosul, by the Tigris River. "It's a matter of hours", Efe news quoted Rasoul as saying, according to local media outlets.

Security sources said IS insurgents had infiltrated Imam Gharbi, some 70 km (44 miles) south of Mosul on the western bank of the Tigris river, on Wednesday evening from a pocket of territory still under their control on the eastern bank.

Airstrikes and artillery salvoes pounded the militants' last bastion in the city as black smoke billowed over it, Reuters reported.

A US-led global coalition is providing air and ground support to the eight-month offensive to wrest back Mosul.

It was in Mosul in July 2014 that IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance, to urge Muslims worldwide to move to his "caliphate", proclaimed less than a week earlier, straddling Iraq and Syria.

Dozens of IS insurgents were killed on Saturday and others tried to escape by swimming across Tigris, state TV said.

That claim came after Iraqi forces retook what remained of Mosul's Great Mosque of al-Nuri and the adjacent Al-Hadba ("The Hunchback") minaret.

The offensive to retake Mosul from IS militants began in October.

The jihadists wanted to go back, but security forces "fired on them and killed them", he said, without specifying how many died. On some occasions, he saw militants holding children at gunpoint while firing mortars at coalition troops to avoid American counterattacks.

The UN predicts it will cost more than $1 billion to fix basic infrastructure in Mosul.

In some of the worst-hit areas, nearly no buildings appeared to have escaped damage and Mosul's dense construction means the extent of the devastation might be underestimated, United Nations officials said.

Mosul is a majority Sunni city who has long complained of being marginalized by the Shi'ite-led governments installed after the 2003 USA -led invasion of Iraq.


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