Over 900 IS fighters were killed in Iraq’s Mosul battle so far

An Iraqi forces M109 self-propelled howitzer fires towards the village of Tall al-Tibah, some 30 kilometres south of Mosul, on October 19, 2016, during an operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists to retake the main hub city. Iraqi forces prepared to retake several key areas around Mosul, including the country's largest Christian town, to tighten the noose on the Islamic State group's stronghold. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
An Iraqi forces M109 self-propelled howitzer fires towards the village of Tall al-Tibah, some 30 kilometres south of Mosul, on October 19, 2016, during an operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists to retake the main hub city.
Iraqi forces prepared to retake several key areas around Mosul, including the country’s largest Christian town, to tighten the noose on the Islamic State group’s stronghold. / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Between 800 and 900 Islamic State (IS) militants have been killed since Iraqi forces launched an offensive to retake Mosul last week, a top US general says.

US Central Command chief Joseph Votel told AFP news agency it was hard to be precise as militants moved around the city and blended in with residents.

Up to 5,000 IS fighters were thought to be in Mosul before the assault began.

Since then, troops and allied fighters backed by US-led coalition air strikes have made gains on several axes.

Commanders have nevertheless warned that securing Mosul could take weeks, if not months.

About 50,000 Iraqi security forces personnel, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen are involved in the operation.

More than 100 US military personnel are embedded with them, advising commanders and helping direct coalition air strikes. Other US troops are providing fire support from nearby bases.

Gen Votel told AFP: “Just in the operations over the last week-and-a-half associated with Mosul, we estimate they’ve probably killed about 800-900 Islamic State fighters.”

The Iraqi government informed US commanders on Wednesday that 57 Iraqi soldiers had been killed and about 250 wounded. The Peshmerga are thought to have suffered about 20 to 30 fatalities.

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