Iraq says Islamic State has lost most of the land it seized

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Isis has lost more than three-quarters of the territory it seized when it swept across Iraq in the summer of 2014 - leaving in control of just seven per cent of the country the Iraqi military has said.

"As of March 31 [this year], they only hold 6.8 percent of Iraqi territory", he said.

Months later, the Iraqi security forces backed by tens of thousands of Shiite and Sunni volunteers, known as Hashd Shaabi paramilitary units, and with the air support provided by global coalition led by the United States, the troops managed to recapture most of Iraq's key cities, towns and villages from the IS group.

The command spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul, noted that the operations in west Mosul have been slow because ISIL terrorist group have been using the civilians there as human shields.

The battle for Mosul, one of Iraq's largest cities, began last October and the outcome will likely determine whether Iraq's various sects can work together to keep the country from fracturing.

ISIS militants still control the towns of Qaim, Tal Afar and Hawija in Iraq, as well as Raqqa, their de-facto capital in Syria.

The column of fuel tankers was destroyed on Tuesday in al-Yarmouk and al-Soarah districts in western Mosul, Hashd al-Shaabi forces, also known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) announced, Iraq's al-Sumaria news website reported.

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The coalition battling ISIL is made of the Iraqi security forces and thousands of Shi'ite volunteers.

Iraqi forces backed by US -led airstrikes have gradually pushed the militants out of a string of towns and cities over the past two years, and are now battling the extremists in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city.

But even if ISIL members are targeted, the fact that they are operating in areas still home to large numbers of residents means that civilians can easily still end up the victims.

"Once that task is accomplished, the coalition will be here to support our Iraqi partners as they eliminate Daesh from every corner of Iraq", Col. John Dorrian said.

The federal police said in a statement on Tuesday they have been reinforcing their positions in Western Mosul in preparation for a push on the al-Nuri Mosque where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014.

Victory against Isis has come at a staggering cost, with some towns and neighbourhoods reduced to rubble by air strikes and shelling.

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