Iraqi forces say about to encircle Islamic State in Mosul's Old City

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Iraq Repels ISIS Counter-Attack in Western Mosul

Mosul, 400 km north of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to control parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

The Indian hostages in Mosul are safe and so far no demand has been made for their release.

Responding to a question on the issue, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said Sushma Swaraj had met representatives and families of these 39 Indians early this month.

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Iraqi and USA forces are engaged in a fierce battle to eliminate ISIS fighters as a US-backed offensive to recapture the city, which fell to the hands of the Islamic State two years ago, entered its ninth month on Friday.

A girl looks out from the arms of a displaced resident, who fled home due to the ongoing fighting between the Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants near the Old City in western Mosul, Iraq June 13, 2017.

Iraqi forces are fighting to retake Mosul from ISIS, after the terrorist organization overran the city in 2014. "More than 100,000 civilians may still be held in the Old City", Geddo told reporters in Geneva.

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Iraqi forces said they were about to complete the encirclement of Islamic State's stronghold in the Old City of Mosul, after taking control of a neighboring district on Thursday. There is hardly any food, water, electricity, fuel.

Our correspondent said that the final battle in the dense streets of the Old City - believed to be held by around 1,000 ISIL fighters preparing to fight to the death - means that a large number of civilians will be trapped amid what the US-led coalition has described as possibly being some of the toughest urban fighting in recent decades.

An estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from Mosul ever since the battle to retake the city began nine months ago. The Iraqi military command repeated its concern about the destiny of almost 200,000 civilians who may be trapped behind the lines of the IS, which often use them as human shields, a situation that might delay any offensive. He said his agency has assisted more than one-half-million people, providing essential items such as blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, buckets and flat containers for liquids known as jerry cans.

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