Iraqi forces push into 3 neighborhoods in western Mosul

Iraqi forces push into 3 neighborhoods in western Mosul

The humanitarian group Oxfam said the leaflets suggested that the Iraqi forces" move on the Old City in Mosul "is imminent.

Desperate civilians trapped behind Islamic State lines now face a harrowing situation with little food and water, no electricity and limited access to hospitals.

"As many as 200,000 additional people may try to leave in coming days", the United Nations said Saturday in a statement following the call for Old City civilians to leave. Several blocks had been cleared - at the cost of at least one dead and three wounded - but his men were still two kilometres from the Old City where an unknown number of ISIS fighters hid among an estimated 165,000.

Forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi - an umbrella organisation for pro-government paramilitaries that is dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias - are battling the jihadists west of Mosul.

Mosul had been the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, but recent offenses have cornered the jihadists into select pockets of the old city.

Mosul is Iraq's second-largest city after the capital Baghdad and was a key logistical and economic hub for IS when the extremists' footprint spanned much of Iraq's north and into neighboring Syria.

Iranian-backed Shiah paramilitary forces are fighting Islamic State in that part of the country where Baghdadi is believed to be hiding, according to USA and Iraqi officials. The protection for civilians is a legal and moral obligation, 'he said.

The fall of the city would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the "caliphate" declared almost three years ago by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from Mosul.

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ISIS has stepped up the use of suicide bombers in the ongoing fight for west Mosul, sending them in waves against the Iraqi Security Forces fighting in the city's tight streets.

Mosul's wide-scale military operation was launched in October and its eastern half was declared liberated in January.

Initially, Iraqi forces punched too deep into Mosul too fast and suffered heavy casualties from the IS fighters who knew the terrain and had years to prepare defenses.

A Pentagon investigation has found that more than 100 civilians were killed after the US dropped a bomb on a building in Mosul, Iraq, in March.

But human rights group Save the Children warned the order would likely lead to "deadly chaos" as the Iraqi government has not negotiated safe passage for civilians with IS.

Iranian media outlets reported that Nasiri was killed on the first night of the holy month of Ramadan this weekend, and buried on Saturday in the city of Karaj, near Iran's capital city Tehran.

It had been weeks since she heard from them, she said, speaking to The Associated Press from a civilian screening center south of Mosul on condition of anonymity, fearing for her relatives' safety.

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