Mosul businesses start reconstruction without waiting for final IS defeat


US and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, conducting 31 strikes consisting of 97 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

The militants, it said, wanted to "confound civilians who expressed joy and welcomed with chanting".

Al-Dulaimi said he blamed the Islamic State group.

The eastern side of the city, which is divided by the Tigris River, was recaptured in January, and a push on the west bank of Mosul launched the following month has made steady progress despite fierce resistance.

Mosul was once Isis's strongest bastion in Iraq, with their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declaring the caliphate at the city's al-Nuri Mosque in July 2014.

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The ultra-hardline Sunni Muslim fighters are fighting back using booby traps, suicide motorcycle attacks, sniper and mortar fire and sometimes shells filled with toxic gas.

A senior military commander says Iraqi troops have driven out Islamic State militants from the largest neighborhood in the western half of the city of Mosul. More than 330,000 people have been displaced so far, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Meanwhile, US estimates for Daesh fighters in and around Iraq's second city predicted a force not exceeding 6,000 men.

Dujarric added that civilian displacement from other remaining Islamic State (IS) held areas has also continued, with almost 95,000 people being forced to flee the town of Hawija, in Kirkuk governorate, since military operations intensified there last August.

Gen. Shaker Alwan Khafaji, one of the Iraqi Federal Police heads, told Sputnik that only 25-30 percent of western Mosul's territory was under the terrorists' control, and that Iraqi government forces are continuing in their efforts to liberate the city's districts. 'This is a guerrilla war, not a conventional one, so we can not estimate how long it will take; Daesh is fighting house to house'. "They came to die and the majority of them are now in hell".