Prime News, International (Mosul, Iraq), July 10:- ISIS terrorists threw themselves into the River Tigris on Sunday, trying to flee the battlefield in Mosul as they faced imminent defeat by Iraqi forces fighting to dislodge them from their last pocket in the city.
A US-trained elite Iraqi force in the Old City of Mosul reached the Tigris riverside, state TV said, indicating that the insurgents’ last redoubt is on the verge of falling.
After eight months of combat that has ruined parts of the city, killed thousands of civilians and displaced nearly one million people, Iraqi officials say victory is close.
The terrorists have been driven from all but a patch of territory on the western bank of the Tigris bisecting Mosul, where they have staged a last stand in the narrow alleys of the Old City.
Plumes of smoke rose over the Old City on Sunday and the decaying corpses of ISIS fighters lay in the streets. Scattered bursts of gunfire could be heard and several airstrikes were carried out.
Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV earlier on Sunday that 30 terrorists had been killed attempting to get away by swimming across the Tigris.
Later, Iraqiya News ran and on-screen headline saying: ‘Forces from the Counter Terrorism Service raised the Iraqi flag on the Tigris river bank in the Old City of Mosul.”
ISIS vowed on Saturday to “fight to the death” in Mosul.
Without Mosul – by far the largest city to fall under terrorists control – ISIS’s dominion in Iraq will be reduced to mainly rural, desert areas west and south of the city where tens of thousands of people live.
It is almost exactly three years since the ultra-hardline group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” spanning Syria and Iraq from the pulpit of the medieval Grand al-Nuri mosque.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of ISIS’s “state of falsehood” a week ago, after security forces retook the mosque – although only after retreating terrorists blew it up. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).