Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul

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Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul
Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) – An Iraqi commander says he believes some 300 Islamic State fighters remain in the small patch of territory still controlled by the group in Mosul’s Old City.

Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of Iraq’s special forces said Wednesday that the militants are confined to a 500 square meter (600 sq. yard) area.

He spoke the day after Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated the armed forces on a “big victory” in Mosul, despite ongoing clashes.

IS captured Mosul in a matter of days when it swept across northern and central Iraq in the summer of 2014. Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition launched a major operation to retake the city in October.

Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As Iraqi forces continued to advance on the last few hundred square kilometers of Mosul held by the Islamic State group, the country’s Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains show Iraqis reject terrorism. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as smoke rises in the background in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As Iraqi forces continued to advance on the last few hundred square kilometers of Mosul held by the Islamic State group, the country’s Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains show Iraqis reject terrorism. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Iraqi civilians flee through the rubble of destroyed houses in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As Iraqi forces continued to advance on the last few hundred square kilometers of Mosul held by the Islamic State group, the country’s Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains show Iraqis reject terrorism. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Iraqi children flee through the rubble as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. The country’s Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains in Mosul show Iraqis reject terrorism. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as smoke rises in the background in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As Iraqi forces continued to advance on the last few hundred square kilometers of Mosul held by the Islamic State group, the country’s Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains show Iraqis reject terrorism. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as smoke rises in the background in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As Iraqi forces continued to advance on the last few hundred square kilometers of Mosul held by the Islamic State group, the country’s Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains show Iraqis reject terrorism. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
An external view of Mosul’s main hospital complex shows damage after it was retaken by Iraqi forces during fighting against Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
An external view of Mosul’s main hospital complex shows damage after it was retaken by Iraqi forces during fighting against Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
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