The battle to wrest full control of the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State will be over in a few days, the Iraqi military said on Monday, as elite counter-terrorism units fought militants among the narrow alleyways of the historic Old City.

An attempted fight-back by militants failed on Sunday night and Islamic State’s grip on the city, once its de facto capital in Iraq, was weakened, a senior commander said.

“Only a small part (of the militants) remains in the city, specifically the Old City,” Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in Mosul, told Reuters.

“From a military perspective, Daesh (Islamic State) is finished,” Assadi said. “It has lost its fighting spirit and its balance. We are making calls to them to surrender or die.”

As CTS units battled militants in the densely-populated maze of tiny streets of the Old City, which lies by the western bank of the Tigris river, Assadi said the area under Islamic State control in Mosul was now less than two sq kms.

Mosul will fall “in very few days, God willing,” he added.

 

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