Wounded civilians flee last of IS-held Mosul

Iraqi rescuers searching for Mosul missing

The Islamic State (IS) group stepped up suicide attacks as it tried to hold off Iraqi forces in the final stages of the battle for Mosul, a senior commander said on Monday.

While Iraqi commanders predicted final victory in Mosul this week, USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had begun an assault on Islamic State's Syrian redoubt in the Old City of Raqqa.

With the full liberation of Mosul in sight, Iraqis celebrated on Sunday. It was here, almost three years ago to the day, that it declared the founding of its "caliphate" over parts of Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi forces took control of the al-Nuri mosque in central Mosul, historically one of Islam's most iconic sites, from Daesh towards the end of June.

Even as ISIL is surrounded in the narrow streets of the old city, fighting is intense.

Interior ministry forces recaptured the Ibn Sina Teaching Hospital along with other medical facilities including a blood bank and a clinic, Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement on Saturday.

"The area is small but the advance today is very good, relatively".

A US-led global coalition is providing air and ground support to the Mosul offensive by the Iraqi army, elite Counter Terrorism Service units and militarised police.

At least 50,000 civilians, about half of the Old City's population, are believed to still be trapped in ISIL-held pockets of Mosul.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake the Old City in mid-June.

"The portions targeted were 25-metre sections and will help preserve the remainder of the overall 2,500-meter wall", the coalition said in a statement.

However Iraqi political and military officials had vowed that victory would be declared by the end of 2016.

"These terrorists are like a ticking time bomb, they are ready to either explode or to carry out many terror attacks against people", the 43-year-old said.

ABC News reporters spoke to an injured boy lying in a bed at a sparse first-aid station who said that remaining ISIS soldiers were hoarding food, water and medicine as months of brutal fighting there approaches its climax.

Daesh stronghold in Syria's Raqqa is also close to falling.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard had apparently verified Baghdadi's death, and the report is supposedly confirmed "through multiple channels". It was the frightening military rise of ISIS, which threatened the interests of great powers like Russia and the U.S., that led to its downfall, with Russian forces tilting the balance in the end.



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