Iraqi PM hails 'big victory' in Mosul

Thursday, 06 Jul, 2017

After eight months of grueling battles to retake Mosul, the dense west Mosul neighborhood is IS' last stand in Iraq's second-largest city.

After CTS units captured the al-Nuri mosque complex on Thursday, Mr Abadi declared the end of Isis's caliphate, which he called "a state of falsehood".

The two bombers hid among a group of civilians picking their way through the devastated area around mostly destroyed mosque, targeting Iraqi troops.

On Sunday, a male suicide bomber dressed in a woman's veil killed 14 people and wounded 13 others in a displacement camp west of the capital Baghdad known as Kilo 60, security sources said. The attackers rode camels into the village of Ngalewa - home of the Boko Haram insurgency - said Maman Nour, the director of a community radio station.

The militants "have nowhere to go".

Some said they saw relatives killed in front of them.

"We are facing more suicide attacks than ever, and we are demanding all women fleeing the old city to remove their niqabs", said one soldier.

"The presence of civilians has affected the troops' advance a lot".

"The directions from the commander-in-chief of the armed forces are to advance slowly to preserve civilians' lives and this is what we are doing", the officer said on Iraqi state TV without being named. Instead, they sought approval for artillery strikes.

Recent airstrikes have left groups of civilians covered in dust with dozens injured by what appear to be shrapnel wounds.

US-led Government forces are now engaged in the final push of an offensive that started last October to remove the Islamic extremist insurgency from Mosul, a former stronghold.

Iraqi forces have retaken the area around the al-Nuri Mosque, which they had planned an operation of doing in mid-June after a dawn push.

The fierce battles continue to cause a massive influx of civilians, who are taken care of in a medical center improvised.

Fadil explained the reason for their caution.

They had made significant progress since then. "They explode themselves", he said. The two suicide bombers included a female.

"One of the suicide bombers was Tunisian", he said. At least one of the five was arrested.

Work visited a number of bases and command centers inside Mosul to talk to generals from the three branches of the Iraqi security forces, ahead of a major offensive on Saturday morning, AP reported.

Hassan Ahmed, a soldier with the special forces deployed in the Old City, said he can't deny that the war has changed him.