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US trumpets Mosul gains, but Iraq says more aid needed

US trumpets Mosul gains, but Iraq says more aid needed”

MOSUL, Iraq U.S. -backed Iraqi forces pressed an advance on neighborhoods under Islamic State control in Mosul on Monday as they seek to dislodge fighters entrenched in a central mosque before the holy month of Ramadan.

Iraqi army, federal police and special forces, backed by the United States of America -led coalition, are slowly retaking territory in Mosul where IS remains in control of a small cluster of neighborhoods in the city's western half.

Gen. Yahya Rasool, the command's spokesman, said in a statement. Families arriving from West Mosul report heavy bombing and fighting. "God willing, this is the final phase", General Rasoul said.

At the same time, the army's ninth division and the Interior Ministry's elite Emergency Response Division attacked the ISIL bastion of 17 Tammouz.

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Outnumbered, militants have retaliated with suicide auto bombs and snipers embedded among the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in west Mosul.

There remain concerns about the offensive's toll on the fate of civilians still stuck in ISIL-controlled territories. Despite enormous risks, the number of people fleeing West Mosul shows no sign of slowing down.

The civilians from al-Zanjili neighborhood in western Mosul were executed after they were caught attempting to escape, an Iraqi military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Spain's Efe news on Saturday.

In March, the US acknowledged its forces launched an airstrike in western Mosul earlier that month that witnesses tell the AP killed more than 100 people.

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An Iraqi special forces soldier peers at Islamic State militant positions, in western Mosul, Iraq, Monday, May 15, 2017.

The operation to retake Mosul from the IS was formally launched in October and in January the city's eastern half was declared "fully liberated".

As hundreds of thousands of civilians are still in Mosul, anti-ISIL forces have had to limit their use of aerial attacks and artillery in the city.

Currently, the Iraqi military and the coalition led by the US carried out an operation to liberate Mosul.

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According to Iraq's authorities, ISIL now controls less than seven percent of the country.



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