Baghdad – Security operations to retake western Mosul from Islamic State militants have killed 3320 militants since their launch in February 19th, said the Iraqi Interior Ministry on Monday.
Wahab al-Taei, the ministry’s media adviser, was quoted by Almaalomah news website that the ministry’s Federal Police forces took over 525 villages and regions since the start of operations, adding that the battle was nearing its end after the forces brought down the group’s last defense lines.
“Nuri al-Kabir mosque, which witnessed the emergence of terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has become within reach, and only a few hundred meters are left to declare full liberation,” he said, referring to the mosque where IS supreme leader declared the establishment of the group’s rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria 2014.
Taei’s announcement comes as Iraqi forces continue to sweep through major districts in northwestern Mosul, shifting to a new axis of operations after finding it difficult to advance to the IS-held Old City from the south.
A week earlier, the Federal Police command said its forces had killed more than 850 Islamic State members, destroyed more than 500 booby-trapped cars and motorbikes belonging to the group and recaptured a total of 274 square kilometers of territory since the launch of assaults to retake western Mosul in February
Iraqi forces retook eastern Mosul in January after three months of battles.