Iraqi forces surround Islamic State in Mosul

Footage showed groups of civilians covered in dust following a strike, with dozens suffering from what appeared to be shrapnel wounds.

"We believe that some 300 Daesh (IS group) militants are fighting in a small area near the Tigris River in Mosul's Old City", Maj.

Years of living under Islamic State has left the children of Mosul with such unsafe levels of psychological damage they are unable to show emotion or play and are haunted by waking nightmares.

The battles also continued in the remaining part of al-Shifaa neighborhood, the last neighborhood still seized by IS militants outside the major IS redoubt of the old city center.

After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State's de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group's self-styled caliphate at an end.

After days of fierce battles, Iraqi military officers say IS now controls just over 1 square kilometer in all, or about 0.40 square miles.

Iraqi forces had been closing in on the Old City in west Mosul for months, but its narrow streets and closely spaced buildings combined with a large civilian population made for an extremely hard fight.

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Caption: Members of Iraqi forces make a "V" sign and display an Iraqi flag as they arrive to take part in a victory celebration in Mosul, July 2. The US-backed operation to retake the city was launched last October and has lasted nearly nine months.

A middle-aged woman with a gaunt, pale face fainted as she fled past the destroyed al-Nuri Mosque.

But as the battle rages on, the impact on the civilians left behind, is becoming clearer. "Also, they used to perform beheading or whipping in the street every now and then ... they used to hang the dead bodies on iron sticks in the streets for days".

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Iraqi troops seized the ruins of the mosque last week, using the symbolic victory to declare that the Iraqi half of the caliphate had been toppled.

Two civilians were killed and nine were injured, including two government soldiers.

"Unfortunately, until now there are families besieged and there are many discarded enemy corpses, and unfortunately many civilians have been martyred, so we must remove them", he told Reuters in western Mosul. One of them was described as an administrative official and the other was allegedly a top bomb-making expert, according to the Ministry.

  • Santos West