3 soldiers killed as Iraqi forces battle Daesh in Mosul

Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have fled Mosul since government-backed forces launched their assault

The jihadists "are trapped", said Brett McGurk, the USA envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition.

Iraqi forces said Monday they had taken more territory from the Islamic State group as they press an offensive that has seen them recapture a third of west Mosul and trap jihadists inside.

ISIS fighters snipe at Iraqi forces who are pushing into Mosul's Old City, which is one of the extremists' last strongholds.

The few thousand militants still fighting in southern Mosul are outnumbered by a 100,000-strong array of Iraqi forces.

He said nine Daesh militants were killed in clashes with Iraqi forces in the city's western part.

"W$3 e are fighting an irregular enemy who hides among the citizens and uses tactics of booby-trapping, explosions and suicide bombers, and the operation is taking place with precision to preserve the lives of the citizens", Rasool said, according to the AFP.

On Monday, Joint Operations Command spokesman Brigadier-General Yahya Rasoul said Iraqi forces controlled almost two-thirds of western Mosul.

Federal police and Rapid Response units said they entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, amd expected tough fighting due to the alleyways being too narrow for armored vehicles.




Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi of the CTS said "more than a third" of west Mosul was now under the control of security forces.

In mid-February, Iraqi forces - backed by a USA -led air coalition - began fresh operations aimed at dislodging Daesh terrorists from western Mosul.

Islamic State seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in mid-2014.

"We are waiting for forensic teams and human rights officials to begin unearthing the grave to uncover the whole story", Mr Nouri said on Sunday.

More than 200,000 Mosul residents have been displaced since the start of the campaign in October, of which more than 65,000 fled their homes in the past two weeks alone.

ISIS captured Mosul easily - a gang of violent fanatics who claimed to have established a new "Islamic State".

In the Mansour district, from which Islamic State was driven several days ago, residents collected aid brought by volunteers from east Mosul while helicopters circled overhead, firing heavy machine guns and missiles at targets in the city.

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