Iraqi government forces on Sunday recaptured more areas and killed 79 Islamic State militants in Mosul’s Old City as they pushed to the last few meters held by the extremist group.
The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said the army’s Counter-Terrorism Forces recaptured Mekkawi area in the Old City and raised Iraqi flags above the area’s buildings.
Federal Police chief, Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, said his forces killed the militants and set 550 civilians free after taking over Bab Jadid neighborhood in the Old City and consummated the recapture of al-Shifa district, a medical and health facilities hub north of the medieval district.
Jawdat revealed that civilians’ tip-offs led to the arrest of tens of militants hiding in the middle of civilians evacuated by the forces from the battlefield.
He also said forces took over the Bilal al-Habashi mosque in the Old City.
Generals from the Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition predicted last week to complete the takeover of Mosul within a few days after joint troops managed to liberate the Old City’s Nuri al-Kabir Mosque, the place where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ascended a rostrum to proclaim the establishment of a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.
Some generals were quoted saying there were less than 200 fighters in the city, adding that the forces reached the western bank of the Tigris River. Government troops regained control over the eastern part of the city in January.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said Saturday that 289 people were killed during violence in Nineveh province, which includes Mosul, during the month of June.