IS counterattacks in retaken parts of Mosul stall Iraq push


Counterattacks by Islamic State militants on the western edge of Mosul have stalled Iraqi forces' push in the Old City, the last IS stronghold in the battle, an Iraqi officer said Tuesday.

The Iraqi military is now engaged in a wide-ranging campaign - launched last October in coordination with a US -led air coalition - to recapture the entire city of Mosul, Daesh's last remaining stronghold in northern Iraq.

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

"The victory announcement will come in a very short time", Al-Abadi said on his website.

Earlier in June, reports claimed Isis blew up an iconic mosque in Mosul where the group declared its "Caliphate" in 2014 in what some analysts believe was a move to avoid humiliation, as troops continued to advance.

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The Iraqi forces backed by the US-led air campaign and supported by anti-ISIS armed groups have been able to recapture most of the land occupied by the extremist group.

According to recent United Nations reports, some 100,000 civilians are still trapped in the IS-held areas in the old city center and the adjacent al-Shifaa neighborhood.

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.

But hundreds of civilians have been killed in the past month as they tried to flee the Old City.

A destroyed al-Hadba minaret at Grand al-Nuri Mosque (L) is seen in Mosul, Iraq June 27, 2017.

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Only a handful of neighborhood remain to be cleared, al-Saadi said, standing atop a rooftop overlooking al-Faruq street which now marks the frontline, a few dozen meters (yards) from the old mosque.

Iraqi forces have been engaging in a final battle to seize Mosul from Daesh.

The group has carried out sporadic suicide bombings in parts of Mosul using sleeper cells.

Iraqi Security Forces launched the offensive on the historic district of the Old City in western Mosul on June 18.

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