Mosul battle will be finished within days – Iraqi army chief
Iraqi security forces are only days away from completing the operation to recapture Mosul from so-called Islamic State, the army’s chief of staff says.
Lt Gen Othman al-Ghanimi told the BBC he hoped the jihadist group would be defeated in the city before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins on 26 May.
Recent gains in the north meant the remaining militants were being squeezed into an ever smaller area, he added.
Mosul fell to IS in 2014 and is its last major urban stronghold in Iraq.
Pro-government forces launched a major offensive to retake the city in October with the support of US-led coalition air strikes.
They managed to take full control of the eastern half of Mosul in January and started an assault on the west the following month.
Fewer than 1,000 militants are now besieged in several north-western districts, including the Old City, along with as many as 450,000 civilians.
“The security forces are carrying out a big and effective effort. I say that Daesh (IS) will be finished in days, God willing,” Gen Ghanimi told topstories Arabic’s Feras Kilani.
“I say that the rest of Mosul will be liberated before the holy month of Ramadan.”
A week ago, units from the army’s 9th Armoured Division and the interior ministry’s Rapid Response Force opened a new front in the north after the advance into the densely-populated Old City from the south and west stalled.