Iraqis fight house to house for costly victory in Mosul

Members of the Iraqi Army hold up an Islamic State flag taken in a fight with militants in western Mosul

Members of the Iraqi Army hold up an Islamic State flag taken in a fight with militants in western Mosul

Iraqi security forces on Wednesday retook control of two more neighborhoods from Islamic State (IS) militants in the old city in the western side of Mosul, the Iraqi military said.

Prime minister Haider al-Abadi said: 'The victory announcement will come in a very short time'.

The military estimates up to 350 militants are dug in among civilians in wrecked houses and crumbling infrastructure.

Earlier this month, IS launched a large-scale counterattack in Mosul that underscored the extremist group's resilience in the city despite months of heavy fighting with Iraqi forces backed by US air power.

The areas are northwest of the historic Grand al-Nuri Mosque which the militants destroyed last week.

Members of the Iraqi Federal Police gesture after returning back from the front line in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq June 28, 2017.

Islamic State still controls the mosque's grounds and about half of the territory in the Old City, its last redoubt in Mosul.

Due to intense fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants and ongoing airstrikes, Farouq district in Old Mosul lies in ruins.

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.

Also, DAESH fighters, the Arabic acronym for IS, infiltrated Tanak by mixing with displaced civilians who returned home and settled there using many residents as human shields, while regrouping and counterattacking government troops.

Sporadic sniper fire could be heard, and an incoming rocket, as the troops used a white commercial drone to survey the insurgents' defenses.

"The 16th infantry division has liberated al-Mashahda district in the Old City of Mosul and raised Iraq's flag above its buildings", the statement published on its Facebook platform reads.

The UN has said that at least 750,000 people have fled since operations to recapture Mosul began.

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