DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:30 P.M.) – Several leading members of the Islamic State’s inner circle were pronounced dead after the final stage of the battle for Mosul came to a conclusion this weekend, an Iraqi military source told Al-Masdar News.
Among the deceased high-ranking ISIS members was Ayad Al-Jumaily, believed to be Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Deputy Khalifah and overall second-in-command. Abu Ahmed Al-Iraqi, governor and head of ISIS’ forces in Nineveh province, was also killed in the Old City of Mosul on Friday.
ISIS commander Abu Hafsa, a jihadist of Saudi origin, also tried to escape the Iraqi Army’s final advance in the Old City by swimming across the Tigris River towards East Mosul. His plan failed and he was shot dead in the water by entrenched government troops on the eastern bank:
Chris Tomson | AMN
Chris Tomson | AMN
Although absolute victory has finally been achieved in Mosul city, thousands of civilians are still hiding in basements or caught under rubbles while the occasional explosion by an ISIS sleeper cell can be heard from above. Many booby-trapped buildings are also off-limits to the Iraqi Army as engineers must demine much of the embattled Old City, located in the heart of Mosul.
The primary contingents involved in the final counter-insurgency operations were the Iraqi Federal Police, 9th Division, Rapid Response Division and Counter Terrorism Units. The latter fighting force sustained tremendous casualties, taking out roughly 40% of its personnel according to a report by the US Secretary of Defense.
Although the Iraqi Government refuses to release official statistics, upwards of 10,000 Iraqi soldiers paid the ultimate price for the liberation of Mosul. In comparison, an estimated 6,000 ISIS fighters were killed in the apocalyptic battle.
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The fate of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is yet to be disclosed; however, both Syria, Russia and Iran have announced him dead following an airstrike last month. The US and Iraq are more weary, stating it to be unknown whether the ISIS leader is dead or not.
On the other hand, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Badi arrived in Mosul city on Sunday afternoon for a speech covering the victory:
Chris Tomson | AMN