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Iraqi forces move to surround Mosul's Old City, held by IS

Iraqi forces move to surround Mosul's Old City, held by IS”

Iraq launched its military offensive to retake western Mosul from the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS, on February 19.

Islamic State is losing territory and on the retreat in both Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State group has long booby-trapped buildings as a weapon against advancing government forces but is now using the deadly tactic to prevent civilians from fleeing.

ICRC officials are also monitoring the screening of men fleeing Mosul as the Iraqi authorities seek to identify fleeing militants, and have visited 45,000 people detained across the country.

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In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017 photo, smoke rises during heavy fighting between Islamic State militants and Iraqi special forces in the industrial area of west Mosul, Iraq.

Sources added that Iraqi security forces liberated on Wednesday new neighborhoods and raided others in the west of Mosul, while conflicts are ongoing between besieged ISIS members and the security forces.

Iraqi forces are closing in fast on the Old City and its narrow streets, where the Daesh terror group is expected to focus its significantly depleted military capabilities.

"The multi-axis advance. has presented the enemy with more dilemmas than they can react to", US -led coalition spokesman John Dorrian told reporters during a press conference Wednesday. Mr Dorrian said over the past week Iraqi forces retook more than 30 sq km of terrain from Isil.

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The woman sent a voice message to relatives living in eastern Mosul, which has been retaken by Iraqi forces.

"Despite enormous risks, the number of people fleeing West Mosul shows no sign of slowing down", said Mahecic.

Mosul is the last major urban area where ISIS still maintains an armed presence. About 350,000 people are believed to be trapped between warring sides in the densely populated areas of west Mosul under IS control.

Unlike regular Iraqi security forces, the PMF does not receive support from the USA -led coalition, which is wary of Iran's influence over the most powerful factions within the body.Officially answerable to the government in Baghdad, the PMF were formed when Islamic State overran around one third of Iraq including Mosul almost three years ago and Iraqi security forces disintegrated.

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