Iraq faces pockets of IS resistance in Mosul

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, July 14, 2017
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Iraqi forces hit further pockets of resistance from Islamic State militants in Mosul’s Old City on Friday, four days after the prime minister declared victory.

Army helicopters flew overhead and explosions could be heard, residents said.

“Three mortars landed on our district,” a resident of Faysaliya, just across the Tigris river in east Mosul, said by telephone.

The US-led coalition backing the Iraqi military campaign said it had conducted two air strikes in the Mosul area a day earlier, destroying 22 fighting positions and a tunnel.

The victory of US-backed Iraqi forces in Mosul marked the biggest defeat for Islamic State, which is also under siege in the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, its operational base.

A few hundred Islamic State insurgents swept into Mosul three years ago as the Iraqi army collapsed, imposing a reign of terror and declaring a caliphate in territory it had seized spanning swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The group still controls areas south and west of Mosul inhabited by tens of thousands of people. The top US general in Iraq said this week that security forces would rest and re-equip before moving on to Tal Afar, 65 km (40 miles) west of Mosul.

The United Nations on Friday estimated that than 20,000 people remained in the city, whose pre-war population were mostly Shia and Sunni Turkmen.

Iraqi forces have regained control of more than half of Imam Gharbi, a village south of Mosul that Islamic State militants armed with machine guns and mortars stormed last week, a security source said. A few dozen insurgents are estimated to remain in the area.

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