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  1. ITV Report

Final days of frontline battle against IS in Mosul caught on camera

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

The final days of the frontline battle to push so-called Islamic State out of Mosul have been captured by a camerawoman filming for ITV News.

Jana Andert was allowed to accompany Iraqi special forces deep into enemy territory as the fighting reached its climax earlier this month.

Other soldiers were told they could not follow the unit, which was on a mission to finish off an enemy that was on the retreat but still inflicting casualties.

IS seized Mosul in June 2014, declaring it the centre of a new "caliphate", but last October, backed by US-led coalition warplanes, the Iraqi Army launched a major offensive to recapture the city.

Led by 27-year-old Sergeant Major Salman Karim, Jana was taken with the Zikha battalion through crumbling alleyways in a bid to outflank IS positions.

Sergeant Major Salman Karim. Credit: ITV News

After a brief exchange of fire near the River Tigris, Sgt Maj Karim showed Jana a radio post and suicide belt that had just been abandoned, before explaining how the extremists have resorted to using human shields.

As the unit pushed through the city, they encountered civilians who are still living amid the devastation, many forced to stay by IS.

One man rushed out pleading for help for his wife, who was on the verge of collapsing. She was given water, which appeared to help, before being directed towards a safer area of the city.

This couple stop for water before escaping Credit: ITV News

Others brought out their injured, including one young girl who was suffering from multiple shrapnel wounds. She was rushed to hospital, but later died.

Another woman with a serious head injury caused by a mortar blast was placed on the bonnet of an army Humvee and carefully driven to the nearest medical post, where surgeons were able to save her life.

Many of the civilians our camera encountered were visibly traumatised by what they had experienced, hurling insults back in the direction of those who imposed their own hard-line version of Islam on Mosul.

The fighting continues in Mosul. Credit: ITV News

Later, the unit we were following called in a strike on an IS base. A short time afterwards there was an explosion, followed by a brief gun battle.

By the time our camera arrived at the scene of the battle, six IS fighters had been killed, with some appearing to be European. There were two women among the rubble, both wearing suicide vests.

The Iraqi government is now claiming IS in Mosul is defeated, but as our camera witnessed, there were still pockets of resistance after the "victory".

IS still holds other towns in the area, and the Iraqi forces know the extremists will fight to the last.