Iraqi army wins back Mosul district in battle against Daesh

Iraqi army wins back Mosul district in battle against Daesh

Iraqi army wins back Mosul district in battle against Daesh

In a related development Sunday, Daesh militants attacked Peshmerga positions in northwestern Kirkuk, leading to two hours of clashes in that city.

"The victory announcement will come in a very short time", Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on his website last night.

The Iraqi forces in Old Mosul now battle ISIS within hand-grenade range.

The mosque was also hugely symbolic - it was from a pulpit there that the Islamic State group's top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in July 2014 declared a self-styled "caliphate", encompassing territories held by IS in Syria and Iraq.

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He's also sided with the right side of the bench on issues such as gun control and voting rights. No one could blame him if he were to decide to spend more of his remaining time with his family.

The assaults underscore the Sunni extremist group's resilience in the city, Iraq's second-largest, despite months of heavy fighting with Iraqi forces backed by USA air power.

Federal police and elite CTS units in Mosul are attacking ISIS fighters in the Old City's maze of alleyways, together with the army and the Interior Ministry's Emergency Response Division.

A United States-led global coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight- month-old offensive. They are trying to slow the advance of Iraqi forces by laying booby traps and using suicide bombers and snipers. Front lines were quiet in the Old City Tuesday as Iraqi special forces scouted the terrain.

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.

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The UN has said that at least 750,000 people have fled since operations to recapture Mosul began. The extremist group is using the civilians as human shields.

But despite staggering territorial losses, IS has managed to launch a number of counterattacks and insurgent assaults inside some Mosul neighborhoods that were retaken from IS earlier this month.

Bernard Smith has more from the nearby city of Erbil.

Security forces blocked their attempted fight-back, al-Saadi said.

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