More than two dozen Takfiri Daesh terrorists have been killed as Iraqi government forces, backed by volunteer fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, are fighting fierce street battles to close in on the strategic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in the western part of Mosul.
Commander of Federal Police Forces Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat said on Saturday that Iraqi Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles had struck Daesh positions near the mosque, where purported Daesh ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his famous speech on the formation of the terror group, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network reported.
He said 30 extremists had been killed and 12 outposts destroyed in the operation.
The United Nations says nearly half a million civilians have fled fighting since the offensive to retake Mosul from the Daesh terrorists started on October 17, 2016.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on April 17 that 493,000 people had been displaced from the city, located some 400 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad.
As many as 500,000 civilians are still trapped in Daesh-controlled neighborhoods of western Mosul.
Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the operation to retake Mosul.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
36 kidnapped Izadi Kurds freed from Daesh captivity
Meanwhile, Director of Izadi Affairs at Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs of the Kurdistan Region, Khairi Bouzani, said on Saturday that Kurdish officials have managed to rescue 36 Izadis, including 27 children, from the clutches of Daesh Takfiris.
Bouzani added that all those rescued come from Sinjar.
Back in August 2014, Daesh terrorists overran Sinjar, killing, raping, and enslaving large numbers of Izadis. The town was later recaptured on November 13, 2015, during a two-day operation by Peshmerga forces and Izadi fighters.
The Office of Kidnapped Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk says around 3,500 Izadi Kurds are being held captive in the Daesh-held areas, and that a large proportion of the abductees are women and children.