PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Fierce clashes and rising numbers of suicide attacks have been reported in Mosul as Iraqi troops try to recapture the city from Islamic State militants, the BBC reports.
The last IS-held quarter, known as the Old City, was rocked by air strikes and artillery salvos, with local commanders expecting to retake full control soon.
However, they are facing more suicide attacks, including several from female bombers, in the battle’s final phase.
The major offensive against IS in Mosul was launched in October 2016.
Thousands of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition warplanes and military advisers, are involved in the operation.
The government announced the full “liberation” of eastern Mosul in January 2017. But the west of the city has presented a more difficult challenge, with its narrow, winding streets.