Iraqi forces are confident they’ll be able to push ISIL out of Mosul within days.
But the militant group isn’t going down without a fight – striking back at Iraqi forces on the cusp of retaking the country’s second largest city.
CGTN’s Toby Muse spoke with the Iraqi military leader overseeing the operation.
Follow Toby Muse on Twitter @tobymuse
Iraqi authorities said that the battle for Mosul is in its final days. The Iraqi Army General overseeing the operation says that ISIL has less than 400 fighters trapped in Mosul’s old city. Once controlling this whole city, ISIL has been reduced to just one square kilometer. And the group is losing territory fast.
Iraqi forces advanced quickly Monday, recapturing a number of small neighborhoods. Even as ISIL is surrounded in the narrow streets of the old city, fighting is intense. Iraqi forces continued to shepherd civilians out of the old city. The civilians were grateful to be free of ISIL’s rule for the first time in three years.
Yet, ISIL showed it can still deliver mortal attacks. A female suicide bomber killed a number of fleeing civilians and a policeman in Mosul. The Iraqi authorities hope they can stop these attacks with intelligence from the population.
Authorities estimate that once ISIL is defeated in the city it will take two months to restore basic services, such as electricity and water. And then will begin the mammoth task of rebuilding Iraq’s second largest city.