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Iraqi forces battle to end IS grip in Mosul

Iraqi forces battle to end IS grip in Mosul
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Iraqi special forces battling the Islamic State group have pushed deeper into west Mosul, where a commander said jihadist resistance is weakening...

Baghdad : Iraqi special forces battling the Islamic State group have pushed deeper into west Mosul, where a commander said jihadist resistance is weakening under repeated assaults. The IS is facing simultaneous offensives by the government forces, Turkish-backed rebels and a US-supported alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, in western Mosul.

The old city Mosul could see some of the toughest fighting of the operation -- which has not yet begun -- nor has fighting inside the city of Raqqa, IS's main bastion in Syria.
Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service attacked the Al-Amil al-Oula neighbourhood of west Mosul early on Friday, and were battling the jihadists inside it, said CTS commander Major General Maan al-Saadi. Iraq's Joint Operations Command later announced that CTS had retaken that area along with Al-Amil al-Thaniyah neighbourhood.

According to Saadi, the IS resistance had diminished following a string of losses since the launch of the government's assault on west Mosul on February 19. "After we broke the (first) defensive line, they lost many fighters," he said.

"The enemy has begun to collapse. They have lost many of their combat capabilities. On Sunday, the enemy sent (suicide car bombs), but not in the numbers they sent at the beginning of the battle."

Seif Rasheed, 28, a medic with the CTS unit operating from a house behind the lines in the Shuhada district, said it received one dead and one wounded on Friday. "The dead was shot in the head and the wounded in the neck and hip," he said. "Daesh (IS) are hiding in homes, opening the doors and firing at troops from just a few metres." Supplies to the IS-held parts of Mosul have dwindled over the past week as the army shut the main route westward.

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