Twenty-one Islamic State members were killed and three others were arrested on Monday in airstrikes and special operations by the Iraqi security forces struggling to recapture the last districts held by the group in western Mosul.
Cap. Abbas al-Babeli, from the Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response Forces, told Shafaaq News website that the army’s Counter-Terrorism Service forces killed nine IS militants and arrested three others in special operations at al-Rifaie district.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said Iraqi fighter jets killed 12 IS members and destroyed their booby-trapping and explosives factories in al-Baaj region, west of Mosul and near the borders with Syria.
Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting, and launched another offensive in February to retake the western side of the city. Iraqi commanders say they control more than 90 percent of the western region, and that less than 1000 fighters were remaining there. They predict to take over the entire region before the end of this month.
Iraqi troops are currently advancing through a handful of districts leading to the IS-held, ancient Old City area, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are believed stranded in dire living conditions under an Islamic State siege.