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Iraqi forces slowed their advance on Tuesday through the last streets in Mosul controlled by Islamic State where militants and civilians are packed in densely together, a commander said.
While Iraqi commanders predicted final victory in Mosul this week, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had begun an assault on Islamic State’s Syrian redoubt in the Old City of Raqqa.
The Iraqi military has pushed insurgents into a shrinking rectangle no more than 300 by 500 meters beside the Tigris river in Mosul; but the resistance has been fierce.
The Rapid Response Division, an elite Interior Ministry unit, called in air strikes just 50 meters away from their targets, and the fighting got close enough at one point for the militants to toss a hand grenade at the troops.
It was from the pulpit of Mosul’s medieval Grand al-Nuri Mosque that, three years ago, leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria. Forces retook the mosque on Thursday, prompting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to declare an end to the group’s “state of falsehood”.
The number of Islamic State militants fighting in Mosul, by far the biggest city it has ever controlled, has dwindled from thousands at the start of the U.S.-backed offensive more than eight months ago to a couple of hundred now, according to the Iraqi military.
A commander from the Rapid Response Division estimated more than 10,000 civilians remained trapped inside the area under militant control, including people brought from other areas as human shields.
They are trapped with little food, water or medicine amid the Old City’s maze of narrow alleyways, according to residents who have managed to escape.
“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 state TV without being named.
“The area is small but the advance today is very good, relatively.”
He said the progress had also been slowed by a high number of improvised explosives planted in streets and buildings.
A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support to the offensive, which Iraq’s army and counter-terrorism service are also fighting in a multi-pronged attack.
TERRITORY SINKING FAST
With Mosul gone, the group’s territory in Iraq will be limited to a few areas west and south of the city where some tens of thousands of civilians live.
In neighboring Syria, a U.S-backed coalition force said it had fired on two small sections of the historic Rafiqah Wall in the Old City of Raqqa, allowing them to overcome Islamic State defenses.
“The portions targeted were 25-metre sections and will help preserve the remainder of the overall 2,500-meter wall,” the coalition said in a statement.
Iraqi authorities are planning a week of nationwide celebrations, to mark the end of the offensive, and Abadi is expected to visit Mosul to formally declare victory.
With its territory shrinking fast, Islamic State has been stepping up suicide attacks in the parts of Mosul taken by Iraqi forces and elsewhere, including a camp for displaced people west of Baghdad on Sunday.
Thousands of people have already fled the Old City this week, joining about 900,000 others, about half the city’s pre-war population, who have been displaced over months of grinding warfare.
Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is believed to be hiding near the Iraq-Syrian border, according to U.S. and Iraqi military sources.
The group has moved its remaining command and control structures to Mayadin, in eastern Syria, U.S. intelligence sources have said, without indicating if Baghdadi was also hiding in the same area.
Baghdadi has often been reported killed or wounded. Russia said on June 17 its forces might have killed him in an air strike in Syria. But Washington says it has no information to corroborate such reports and Iraqi officials are also skeptical.
Journal July 4, 2017
announced the province of Babylon, Tuesday, announced his intention Thursday an official holiday in conservative circles in case the temperature exceeded the barrier of 50 ° C.
Council President Ali Alkraawi’s «News Journal», said that “the Council has not yet taken a formal decision to give the holiday and is still in the process of study and deliberation and will resolve the issue on Wednesday.”
“The holiday data sets according to the Meteorological Authority and if the temperature exceeds 50 degrees Celsius barrier, it will be considered as a holiday next Thursday.”
Published July 04, 2017 Associated Press
MOSUL, Iraq – Iraq’s prime minister on Tuesday congratulated his fighters on “the big victory in Mosul” — even as fighting with Islamic State (ISIS) militants continued in Mosul’s Old City neighborhood where Iraqi forces are about 250 yards from the Tigris River and facing increasingly fierce resistance.
Haider al-Abadi spoke during a press conference in Baghdad, less than a week after he declared an end to ISIS’ self-styled caliphate after Iraqi forces achieved an incremental win by retaking the landmark al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City.
“Praise be to God, we managed to liberate (Mosul) and proved the others were wrong, the people of Mosul supported and stood with our security forces against terrorism,” al-Abadi said.
His remarks came on the third anniversary of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sermon at the al-Nuri Mosque, from where he declared an Islamic caliphate on ISIS-held lands in Syria and Iraq.
Also during the press conference, al-Abadi added that he has given instructions to rebuild and stabilize areas of the city already freed from the militant group.
Inside Mosul’s Old City, civilians fleeing Iraqi advance are increasingly desperate. The elderly and weak are carried across mounds of rubble in blankets. Soldiers — increasingly fearful of the Old City’s inhabitants after a string of suicide bombings — hurry the groups along.
A middle-aged woman with a gaunt, pale face fainted as she fled past the destroyed al-Nuri Mosque. Two soldiers carried her to the roadside and tried to revive her with cold water.
Largely cut off from food and water for months, humanitarian groups are reporting a spike in the number of displaced people suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.
“None of the previous battles were like this,” said Iraqi Maj. Faris Aboud, working at a small field hospital just outside the Old City.
“In a single day we received 300 wounded,” Aboud, a father of three continued. “For me, seeing the wounded children is the hardest, we see children who have lost their entire families under the rubble, they have no one now.”
Lt. Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, of Iraq’s special forces, said earlier in the day that Iraqi forces are just 250 yards from the Tigris River, in the western half of Mosul. The Tigris divides the city roughly into its western and eastern half, which was liberated from ISIS militants back in January.
ISIS militants who remain trapped in just a few hundred meters of territory in the Old City are now in a “fight to the death,” al-Asadi said, adding that ISIS fighters are increasingly resorting to suicide bombings and that he expects the fighting to get even heavier as they are pushed closer to the river.
Iraqi forces marked a significant victory this week when the Rapid Response Division retook Mosul’s main hospital complex on the city’s western side.
The building that once held the city’s best medical facilities now sits devastated by the fight. For weeks, a handful of ISIS snipers perched in the main hospital’s top floors held back hundreds of Iraqi forces.
Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city, in October. ISIS overran Mosul in a matter of days in 2014. At the height of the extremists’ power, they held nearly a third of Iraq.
A man who asked to only be referred to as Abu Abid, for fear for his family’s safety, was waiting to get a spot on a truck after fleeing the Old City.
“That place, it was absolute death,” he said. “We will never be the same. Once the fear has been planted in your heart, you can’t get rid of it.”
History of edits:: 2017/7/4 23:55
commander of Nineveh, Maj . Gen. Najim al – Jubouri said on Thursday is a deadline to announce the complete liberation of the city of Mosul Daesh terrorist gangs.
Jubouri said in a press statement , “two days and be announced fully liberalized the city of Mosul.”
He added that “force equivalent to three military teams will be the task of keeping the ground after liberation either the rest of the military units will go for the Liberation of Tall Afar from the control Daesh terrorist.”
The military media cell of the Joint Operations Command today announced the completion of writing a statement to declare victory and the full liberation of the city of Mosul.
one hour ago
Twilight News / Joint Special Operations Command, published on Wednesday an update of the military map of ongoing battles with the organization Daesh in the city of Mosul.
Loss Daesh of the city and is subject to the control of the cell has shown it is just a narrow alleys in the old area also became an arena to fight with Iraqi security forces.
The commander of operations “are coming, Nineveh,” Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir Aarallah, said on Tuesday that the coming days will witness the full liberation of Mosul declaration from the grip of the organization Daesh.
Lieutenant-General Aarallah said in a statement published by the Iraqi Defense Ministry on its official website, that “despite the difficulty of the task assigned to them, especially the protection of innocent citizens was one of the priorities of the liberation reached its final stages,” he said. “The coming days will witness the declaration of full liberalization of the conductor.”
According to military information it is likely to announce the release right side of the city of Mosul over the next four days, three.
18 minutes ago
Twilight News / said the commander of operations “are coming, Nineveh,” Lieutenant-General Abdul Amir Aarallah, that the coming days will witness the full liberation of Mosul declaration from the grip of the organization Daesh.
Lieutenant-General Aarallah said in a statement published by the Iraqi Defense Ministry on its official website on Tuesday evening, that “despite the difficulty of the task assigned to them, especially the protection of innocent citizens was one of the priorities of the liberation reached its final stages,” he said. “The coming days will witness the declaration of full liberalization of the connector “.
According to military information that it is likely to announce the release right side of the city of Mosul over the next four days, three.