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IS fighters launch counterattacks in west Mosul neighborhood

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Civilians are still trapped in ISIS-held areas               CBS News

The Islamic State last week destroyed Mosul's al-Hadba minaret and the 845-year-old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, or Noor mosque, where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have declared the Islamic State caliphate.

Devastated buildings, piles of rubble and putrid corpses of extremists: apocalyptic scenes unfold in the Old City of Mosul where Iraqi forces are battling the last ISIS group fighters.

Social media carried posts showing black smoke and reports that it came from houses and cars set alight by the fighters.

"We will finish the operation within a few days".

The battle headed toward the heart of Mosul City is still ongoing, with Iraqi government troops intending to open routes for escape for the many civilians who are still trapped in the area.

Iraqi forces had about 600 metres left to cover before reaching Mosul's Corniche road along the western bank of the Tigris, said federal police commander Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat. Witnesses said they saw residents fleeing the area.

Iraqi troops captured the neighborhood of Al-Faruq in the northwestern side of the Old City facing the mosque, the military said on Monday.

London, Erbil - An Iraqi military commander said on Monday that fighting to recapture the city of Mosul from ISIS will end in days and that the extremists' attempt to resist have already failed.

"From a military perspective, Daesh (Islamic State) is finished", Assadi said.

US -backed Iraqi special forces said Sunday they've retaken two-thirds of the Old City, but it's come at a cost.

In Syria, the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa, is almost encircled by a US -backed, Kurdish-led coalition.

The Iraqi forces - trained in urban warfare by the U.S. military - were channeling their attack along two perpendicular streets that come together in the center of the Old City.

Isis launched a major counter attack involving dozens of suicide bombers across the west of the city and in particular on the neighbourhood of Hay al-Tanak just outside the Old City walls on Sunday, Iraqi officials said.

He said 15 to 20 jihadist fighters were also killed in the battle.

Faruq is located on the opposite side of the historic Nuri Mosque, which was destroyed by ISIS last week. however, the militant group still control the site of the mosque.

But despite staggering territorial losses, IS has managed to launch a number of counterattacks and insurgent assaults inside some Mosul neighborhoods that were retaken from IS earlier this month.

"We can confirm the al-Nuri mosque was destroyed", the Washington Post reported the US-led worldwide coalition as saying.

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