Newspaper: Mosul victory imminent, says Iraqi army

The siege has been backed by US -led coalition airstrikes, but warplanes have dropped fewer bombs in recent days as Iraqi forces inched closer to retaking the city.

A French armed forces spokesman had said on Wednesday that the French fighter jets had launched 600 air strikes against Islamic State in Mosul since the start of the battle to retake the city in support of Iraqi troops. Some units remain up to 150 meters (yards) from the river. Backed by a ferocious aerial bombing campaign by a USA -led global coalition, the offensive has turned much of the city to rubble and forced tens of thousands of people to flee.

Rasoul said "the victory over the IS in the next few hours, after clearing all areas of Mosul (of explosives)".

The United Nations predicts it will cost more than $1 billion to fix basic infrastructure in Mosul.


IS now controls less than a square kilometer (mile) of territory in Mosul's Old City, but is using human shields, suicide bombers and snipers in a fight to the death.

The declaration follows eight months of fierce fighting by Iraqi forces and a US-led coalition to oust the militants from their final stronghold in the country.

Some Iraqi soldiers danced with rifles and machine guns, waving the national flag as they reached their assigned targets, without waiting for a formal victory announcement to be made.

But heavy fighting by holdouts continues in parts of the Old City neighborhood near the Tigris River.


US -backed Syrian forces have pushed into the group's de facto capital, the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, but a final victory there could be months away, and the extremists still hold several smaller towns and villages across Iraq and Syria. But in the last ten months, ISIS was forced to retreat under pressure from Iraqi government troops. Mohammed Haji Ahmed, 43, a clothing trader, said in the Hassan Sham camp to the east of Mosul.

The Department of Defence has requested US$1.269 billion in USA budget funds for 2018 to continue supporting Iraqi forces.

Mosul was captured by Islamic State in 2014, and shortly afterwards the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" from inside the city. In a bid to continue supporting Iraqi forces, the Department of Defense has also requested $1.269 billion in United States budget funds. The U.S. -led operation to retake Mosul began and October and has already displaced some 87,000 people.



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