Iraqi forces fight door-to-door in Mosul as battles enters seventh month

Iraqi forces are battling to wrest control of Mosul from Islamic State fanatics.

An Iraqi command spokesman said Sunday that Western Mosul's Old City district, a strategic ISIS militants' bastion, has become entirely encircled by Iraqi government forces.

Using satellite imagery and information from local researchers, the United Nations said in a news release yesterday it found more than 1,140 housing sites have been destroyed in western Mosul, even though only about half have been retaken by Iraqi forces.

But Allawi warned that retaking Mosul will not be the end of the fight against IS in the country.

"Daesh (Islamic State) suicide motorcycles now are their favourite weapon inside the Old City", he said.

Iraqi forces have been making significant gains in west Mosul over the past two months but the toughest battles could yet lie ahead, with die-hard jihadists hunkering down in the treacherous streets of the Old City.

That "makes it very hard for any offensive manoeuvre in there, but it makes it very easy to defend", Uribe said.

Government forces, including army, police and elite counter terrorism units have taken back most of it, including the half that lies east of the Tigris river.

"Mosul has pushed us to our operational limits", said Grande.

Baghdadi declared a caliphate over the territory the group controlled from the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul the same year, which also became a point of contention with Al Qaeda.

"Among the dead were two judges and head of the high committee to supervise Isis military bases", Commander of Iraq's Federal Police, Major Shakir Jawdat, said, according to the Kurdish Rudaw news network.

ISIS militants fired rocket in western Mosul in Iraq.

The military also told the people to hide into basements of their houses or to stay in the downstairs of their buildings, if no basement available, when clashes erupt in their neighborhoods, the statement said.

  • Joey Payne