Iraqi Military: Victory Over IS in Mosul Imminent

A member of the Iraqi Federal Police opens fire against IS militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, on July 7.A member of the Iraqi Federal Police opens fire against IS militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, on July 7.

Iraqi security forces were expected to take full control of Mosul on Saturday as the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group's defensive lines collapse in its former de facto capital in Iraq, state television reported.

Airstrikes and artillery salvoes pounded the militants' last bastion in the city as black smoke billowed over it, Reuters reported.

Some Iraqi soldiers celebrated, dancing with rifles and machineguns and waving the national flag as they reached their assigned targets, without waiting for a formal victory announcement to be made, a Reuters TV crew said.

The mood was less festive, however, among some of the nearly one million Mosul residents displaced by months of fighting, many of whom are living in camps outside the city.

"We are seeing now the last meters (yards) and then final victory will be announced," a television presenter said, citing the channel's correspondents embedded with security forces battling in the IS fortification in the Old City of Mosul, by the Tigris river.

"It's a matter of hours," she said.

A military spokesman cited by the TV said the insurgents' defense lines were collapsing. Iraqi commanders say the insurgents are fighting for every meter with snipers, grenades and suicide bombers, forcing security forces to fight house-to-house in the densely populated maze of narrow alleyways.

A US-led international coalition is providing air and ground support to the eight-month offensive to wrest back Mosul.

"The battle has reached the phase of chasing the insurgents in remaining blocks," the Iraqi military media office said in a statement. "Some members of Daesh have surrendered," it added, using an Arab acronym of Islamic State.

Months of urban warfare has displaced 900,000 people, about half the city's prewar population, and killed thousands, according to aid organizations.

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