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Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighborhoods from Islamic State

28 June 2017

Prime minister Haider al-Abadi said: 'The victory announcement will come in a very short time'.

"The operation is continuing to free the remaining parts of the Old City", Lt. Gen. Abdel-Wahab al-Saadi of the Counter Terrorism Service told a Reuters correspondent near the front line in the heart of the Old City. 'In a few days, our forces will reach Corniche and bring the battle to its conclusion, ' he added.

The mosque was also hugely symbolic - it was from a pulpit there that the Islamic State group's top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014 declared a self-styled "caliphate", encompassing territories held by IS in Syria and Iraq.

In Syria, the ISIS-held capital of Raqqa, is virtually encircled by a US-backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

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In a related development Sunday, Daesh militants attacked Peshmerga positions in northwestern Kirkuk, leading to two hours of clashes in that city.

ISIS has lost about half the Old City since the battle for the historic district started ten days ago.

They were making extensive use of booby traps, suicide bombers and sniper fire to slow the advance of Iraqi forces from the west, the north and the south.

Those residents who have escaped say numerous civilians trapped behind Islamic State lines - put at 50,000 by the Iraqi military - are in a desperate situation with little food, water or medicines.

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The assaults underscore the Sunni extremist group's resilience in the city, Iraq's second-largest, despite months of heavy fighting with Iraqi forces backed by US air power.

According to a Farsi report by Entekhab, as Mosul liberation operation is underway, the Iraqi army has saved a large number of the city's residents who had been used by ISIS as human shields. Hundreds of civilians fleeing the Old City have been killed in the past three weeks. Troops ducked into narrow alleyways, through bright courtyards and up balconies to reach positions with a view of the now destroyed grand Al-Nouri Mosque.

Iraqi troops on Monday captured the al-Faruq quarter, facing the mosque, the military said.

In Yarmuk the IS terrorists are tracked "house to house" since it is believed there are at least two groups of extremists heavily armed and entrenched in that area on the western edge of Mosul, while in Tanak the situation is somewhat more delicate, He explained.

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Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighborhoods from Islamic State