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Operation to reclaim Mosul displaces almost half a million

20 April 2017

Mosul, Iraq's second biggest city, was captured by the ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim fighters in 2014, but government forces have retaken much of it during an operation that has lasted six months.

They were some of the around 400,000 people still in western Mosul where Iraqi military forces are trying to dislodge IS from the Old City.

The Iraqi army said Sunday 2900 ISIS members were killed over the past few days in Western Mosul as US-backed operations continue to clear the remaining districts of the region from militants.

Tough close-quarters fighting in heavily-populated areas of Mosul is still ahead, and IS also holds territory in other parts of Iraq, as well as in neighbouring Syria.

Progress in the Old City - a warren of closely-spaced buildings and narrow streets where hundreds of thousands of civilians are thought to reside - has been hard and slow.

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That "makes it very hard for any offensive manoeuvre in there, but it makes it very easy to defend", Uribe said.

A press statement by Iraqi Federal Police Forces - Chief Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat - said that the police force took down one of the organisation's leaders Mahmaoud Ali Mahmoud, during one of the engagements against IS elements in Mosul, according to a Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) report.

Seven alleys in the neighborhood were recaptured, al-Alusi said, adding that his forces killed 15 armed militants and arrested another three; they also destroyed a booby-trapped vehicle through which a suicide bomber tried to target Iraqi troops. The authorities are now setting their sights on the Tigris River which divides the city.

"Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits", Grande said. In a related development, the federal police command announced on Thursday that Iraqi troops penetrated the old city towards the Nuri mosque in the western part of Mosul. "All road traffic has stopped", said an official at Hammam al-Alil, home to some 30,000 displaced people.