US trumpets Mosul gains, but Iraq says more aid needed

US trumpets Mosul gains, but Iraq says more aid needed

US trumpets Mosul gains, but Iraq says more aid needed

"The final push by Iraqi security forces to retake Mosul from (IS) has caused possibly the largest wave of displacement since the beginning of the year", the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said.

Vastly outnumbered by the forces arrayed against them, IS fighters are fighting back with suicide vehicle bombs and snipers embedded among hundreds of thousands of civilians they are holding hostage.

A displaced family passes an Islamic State militant banner in western Mosul Saturday, May 13, 2017.

In recent weeks, US -backed Iraqi troops have slowly closed in on a small cluster of neighborhoods in the city's west.

The operation would enable the Hashd Shaabi units to secure the border areas between Iraq and neighboring Syria and cut off the IS supply routes between Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of IS self-declared caliphate.

After the Islamic State seized Mosul in summer 2014, it enjoyed the dubious honor of being the "richest terrorist group in the world".

He was speaking on a visit to the frontlines in western Mosul. "They have nowhere to go", soldier Faris Sallal said in the Islah al-Ziraie district, which echoed with intermittent gunfire and the occasional boom of artillery.

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Flies swarmed over the charred remains of an Islamic State militant lying near a motorbike on a street in the district.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said last week, citing the government, that 434,775 people have fled Mosul - ISIL's last stronghold - since troops launched an operation on February 19. In the garage of a house on the same street was an armor-plated vehicle rigged with a suicide bomb.

According to UNHCR, the risk to people fleeing Mosul is "very great".

In March, the US acknowledged its forces launched an airstrike in western Mosul earlier that month that witnesses tell the AP killed more than 100 people.

Meanwhile, in the western province of Anbar, three would-be suicide bombers were killed after infiltrating the city of Haditha during dawn, Iraqi forces said on Monday.

"Our intelligence conclusions based on insider sources and drone surveillance indicate undisputedly that Daesh fighters are less organized now and lack the resources to keep fighting", he said.

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