PM Abadi urges Islamic State fighters to surrender as Mosul battle nears end

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Mosul ( Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has urged Islamic State militants to surrender as government troops close in on the group’s last entrenchments in western Mosul.
Speaking to reporters in his weekly press briefing late Tuesday, Abadi called upon IS members to surrender, promising to grant them “a fair trial” in that case.
“Fighting in Mosul should proceed in a calculated pace,” Abadi stated during the conference. “Our intelligence capabilities have developed, and we are ahead of the enemy.”
Iraqi government forces have become close to retaking western Mosul and declaring the full recapture of the city that fell in IS grip in 2014. The eastern section was retaken in January.
On Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said Iraqi troops became in control over 89.5 percent of territory at western Mosul, having killed more than 16000 militants since the launch of Mosul operations in October. Other commanders had predicted to recapture the city before the end of this month.
Iraqi government forces are eyeing the ancient, densely structured and populated Old City, the place where Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the establishment of an “Islamic Caliphate” in 2014. Troops besieged the area for weeks from the south, but turned to the northwestern axis to invade the city earlier this month. IS fighters are believed to have been holding hundreds of thousands at that area as human shields.