Mosul: Celebrations with victory over ISIL in sight

Iraqi forces battled the last Islamic State group holdouts in Mosul on Wednesday, a day after the country’s premier feted the “major victory” over the jihadists in the northern city.

Iraqi forces have surrounded Islamic State fighters in Mosul in their efforts to retake the second-largest city in Iraq, the military said.

The fighting is becoming heavier as Iraqi forces push the extremist IS militants in their last stronghold of the Old City toward the Tigris River, Asadi said, adding that IS militants are increasingly resorting to suicide attacks.

US -backed forces continued squeezing ISIS militants in Mosul’s Old City through the weekend.

“The number is.more or less 300 fighters, a lot of them of European nationalities, Arabs, of other nationalities, or of Asian origin”, he said of the remaining extremists.

With its territory shrinking fast, the group has been stepping up suicide attacks in the parts of Mosul taken by Iraqi forces and elsewhere.

Hussein, of the special forces, and a group of about a dozen men searched on foot Monday for more suicide bombers.

The extremists have been surrounded in a small enclave in the Old City amid fears numerous buildings are still packed with civilians.

Iraqi authorities are planning a week of nationwide celebrations, to mark the end of the offensive, and Abadi is expected to visit Mosul to formally declare victory.

“The battle will end in five days to a week”, Aridhi said.

Work told NBC News it is hard to know how many ISIS fighters were left inside the Old City.

The research, by Save the Children, was based on discussions with 65 children who had escaped to the Hammam al-Alil camp for displaced persons, south of the battered city.

“ISIS is not just a military issue but has become a phenomenon and ideology”, the Iraqi diplomat said. It said the coalition forces were making every effort to protect civilians and preserve the historic sites.

A US -backed Kurdish-led coalition besieging Raqqa on Thursday fully encircled it after closing the militants’ last way out from the south, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said. On Sunday, the US -backed fighters crossed the Euphrates River on the southern edge of the city, completing its encirclement.

But there was concern that only a small proportion of the civilian population were managing to get the medical attention they required.

Smoke billows from militants’ positions after an arterial attack.

Mosul civilians