Reuters MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) — Iraqi forces have retaken around 30 percent of west Mosul from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, a commander of the elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) said Sunday, as soldiers pushed further into the jihadists’ territory.
Federal police and Rapid Response units said they had entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where the fight is expected to be toughest due to narrow alleyways through which armoured vehicles cannot pass.
The militants are vastly outnumbered and outgunned by Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition and are defending their last major stronghold in Iraq using suicide car bombs, snipers and mortars.
As many as 600,000 civilians are trapped with the militants inside the city which Iraqi forces have effectively sealed off from the remaining territory that ISIL controls in Syria and Iraq.
CTS troops stormed the al-Jadida and al-Aghawat districts on Sunday, Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi told reporters in Mosul, saying the militants were showing signs of weakness despite initial “fierce” resistance.
“The enemy has lost its fighting power and its resolve has weakened. It has begun to lose command and control,” he said, adding that around 17 out of 40 western districts had been retaken.
Mass grave enearthed
BAGHDAD (Reuters) — The remains of hundreds of mainly Shiite inmates killed by ISIL when they overran a prison in northern Iraq more than two years ago have been unearthed by forces retaking the area from the group, a spokesman said.
An Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group made the discovery after driving the militants from the Badush area where the prison is located, as part of a wider U.S.-backed campaign to dislodge ISIL from the city of Mosul.Speech