Iraq’s defense minister says at least 1,300 Takfiri terrorists have been killed in the military operations to liberate the southern parts of Mosul, the main Daesh stronghold in the country.
Speaking at a Saturday press conference, Khaled al-Obeidi also said estimates by senior Iraqi officials show Mosul and other militant-held regions will be liberate “within a year.”
Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, fell into the hands of Daesh terrorists in June 2014 in the first stage of terrorists’ advance through Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has promised that the liberation of Mosul is very close as it is the Iraqi forces’ “next destination” after the liberation of Fallujah, a strategic western city.
On June 18, Iraqi forces launched an offensive against Daesh terrorists to retake the southern part of Mosul and the town of Qayyarah, one day after they retook Fallujah.
Iraqi forces managed to raise their national flag on the main government complex of Fallujah on June 17. Later in the day, Abadi congratulated the nation on the liberation of the city.
Iraqi forces inspect a building formerly used by Daesh terrorists as a home-made bomb making factory as they patrol the liberated city of Fallujah on June 23, 2016. ©AFP
The commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization forces, Hadi al-Ameri, said Friday that Fallujah is days away from being fully cleared from Daesh militants.
Tens of thousands of people have fled Fallujah amid heavy fighting in the city. Before being driven out, Daesh militants were using civilians as human shields to slow down army advances in the areas.
The Iraqi army is now screening 20,000 people that have left Fallujah, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 miles) west of Baghdad, to prevent the remaining terrorists from escaping among the civilians.
Displaced Iraqis from the western city of Fallujah wait to fill jerry cans with water at a camp near Amiriyiah al-Fallujah on June 22, 2016. ©AFP
An unnamed spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said on Saturday that a total of 2,185 Daesh suspects have been detained on the basis of testimonies or other information, noting that 11,605 were released and about 7,000 are still undergoing checks.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in the country in June 2014.
Iraqi government forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units, have been pushing the militants out of the country’s territory.