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The organisation said earlier in May another 200,000 people could be displaced by the conflict as military operations moved closer to Mosul's Old City.

IS-held Mosul has shrunk to just about 2 square kilometers in the ancient Old City district.

Combined forces of the Iraqi government combed recently released areas in western Mosul considered strategic to deliver the final blow to the Islamic State (IS), against which sporadic fighting in Tanak and Yarmuk are taking place today.

IS fighters blew up the 12th century mosque in the heart of the Old City last week, along with its landmark minaret, according to the US -led coalition and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense - an act of destruction that the authorities in Baghdad interpreted as the militants' message of defeat in the face of the relentless Iraqi offensive.

Iraqi authorities and officials from the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh terrorists said the destruction of the site, sometimes referred to as Iraq's Tower of Pisa, is a sign of the extremists' imminent loss of Mosul.

Al-Assadi today signed a statement made on June 22 by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi that "within a few days" Mosul will be declared free territory. Despite the fact that ISIS now faces a stark new operational reality with less territory under its control and having suffered major symbolic and tactical losses, it is premature to conclude that the struggle against ISIS is over because numerous factors that contributed to its rise remain. They are trying to slow the advance of Iraqi forces by laying booby traps and using suicide bombers and snipers.

Those residents who have escaped say numerous civilians trapped behind ISIS lines - put at 50,000 by the Iraqi military - have little food, water or medicine.

Hadarat Al-Saada and Al-Ahmadiyya are northwest of the historic Grand Al-Nuri Mosque, which the militants destroyed last week.

A US-led global coalition is providing air and ground support in the eight-month-old offensive.

Front lines were quiet in the Old City on Tuesday as Iraqi special forces scouted the terrain.

Iraqi troops on Monday captured the al-Faruq quarter, facing the mosque, the military said.

The UN has said that at least 750,000 people have fled since operations to recapture Mosul began.

Aid organizations say Islamic State has stopped many civilians from leaving, using them as human shields.


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