Iraqi government forces backed by the US-led coalition managed to prevent a counter-attack by Isis militants in southwestern Mosul early on Thursday (2 March). The terrorists hid among displaced civilians and were looking to take advantage of extreme weather conditions prevailing in the region.

A senior officer told Reuters that the militants got close to Iraqi forces by hiding among civilians. However, they were spotted by armed personnel and their mission was foiled. It is unclear whether there were any casualties in the latest offensive.

Further, reports said that several militants and civilians were killed in attack on a mosque attack in al-Faruq district in the old city centre. According to Reuters, a few houses in the vicinity were also destroyed in the attack.

Omar al-Aswad mosque was damaged in an air raid, residents told the news agency and the death toll was not immediately available.

However, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition said that he was not aware of any strike carried out on the mosque. The Iraqi military media officers confirmed that there was an ongoing battle with the jihadists, but did not mention about the attack on the mosque, which is reportedly run by the militants.

Earlier on Wednesday (1 March), Iraqi forces gained control of the last major road out of west Mosul, trapping jihadists within the city.

British Major General Rupert Jones, who is the deputy commander of the Combined Joint Task Force said that with help from the US-led coalition Iraqi forces were more successful in eliminating militants trapped in the city.

In January, Iraqi forces captured eastern Mosul following a 100-day battle and mounted an offensive on districts situated on the west of Tigris river on 19 February.

West mosul offensive
An Iraqi special forces soldier runs for cover during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq March 1, 2017 REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic