Mosul – More than 600 Islamic State fighters had been killed and 900 families were set free from western Mosul’s Old City as Iraqi forces took over the group’s birthplace mosque on Thursday.
Abdul-Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service, was quoted by Rudaw network saying Iraqi forces killed more than 600 Islamic State militants as they took over Nuri al-Kabir mosque, the place where the group’s founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the establishment of the group’s rule in 2014. “Daesh (Islamic State) fighters are fighting ferociously, but have failed to stop advances by Iraqi troops,” he said.
According to Assadi, IS is still in control over al-Maydan, Serjkhana and Ras al-Khour, all areas in the Old City, and forces are attempting to drive them out of those areas. His remarks came at odds with a statement by the Defense Ministry confirming that no areas were under IS control anymore in western Mosul.
Sabah al-Noaman, a spokesperson of the CTS, also said only a few groups of IS were hiding at some areas of the Old City while trying to find a way out. He said forces freed more than 900 families from the district.
“The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood,” Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi said in a statement earlier on Thursday.