Iraqi military says it has retaken two Mosul neighborhoods from Islamic State

Iraqi forces, battling up to 350 militants dug in among civilians in the Old City, said federal police had dislodged IS insurgents from the Ziwani mosque and were only a few days away from ousting militants completely from the Old City.

The statement named many neighborhoods and commercial areas inside the old city still under the control of the extremist IS militants, including al-Farouq al-Thaniyah, Raas al-Kour, al-Maidan, Bab al-Jadid, Bab al-Toub and Sarijkhanah, along with other areas.

Earlier in June, reports claimed Isis blew up an iconic mosque in Mosul where the group declared its "Caliphate" in 2014 in what some analysts believe was a move to avoid humiliation, as troops continued to advance.

"The operation is continuing to free the remaining parts of the Old City", Lt. Gen. Abdel-Wahab al-Saadi of the Counter Terrorism Service told a Reuters correspondent near the front line in the heart of the Old City.

Iraqi authorities and officials from the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh terrorists said the destruction of the site, sometimes referred to as Iraq's Tower of Pisa, is a sign of the extremists' imminent loss of Mosul.

Hadarat Al-Saada and Al-Ahmadiyya are northwest of the historic Grand Al-Nuri Mosque, which the militants destroyed last week.

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Daesh still controls small parts of Iraq and Syria.

The June 14 assault was carried out by more than 100 IS militants and killed 11 Iraqi policemen and four civilians in clashes that lasted hours.

A US-led worldwide coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight-month-old offensive. They are trying to slow the advance of Iraqi forces by laying booby traps and using suicide bombers and snipers.

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

Islamic State's Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is assumed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border area.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Press TV on Friday, Iraq's federal police chief voiced concerns over Daesh terrorists' use of Mosul residents as human shields.

  • Sonia Alvarado