By Ali Sheikho
At least 14 Daesh fighters, including two suspected suicide bombers were killed during clashes in Mosul on Thursday as security forces claimed they were now in control of the historic Al-Nuri mosque site, according to Iraqi officials.
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.
According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq -- more than half of them children -- while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
The Iraqi military engaged in a wide-ranging campaign -- launched last October -- to recapture the entire city of Mosul.
Federal police officer Lt. Abdul Bari Faleh al-Jamous told Anadolu Agency: "Twelve armed men from the Daesh organization were killed in clashes with the federal police forces in the Bab al-Jadid district, within the old city in the western side of Mosul.
"Six federal police personnel were injured in the clashes, two of them were critically wounded."
Al-Jamous added police had besieged Daesh fighters in the old city and now stood close to 200 meters from the terrorist group’s last stronghold in al-Sargakhana.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi state-run television announced on Thursday that the "state of myth" -- a reference to the so-called caliphate announced by Daesh terrorist organization in summer 2014 -- had fallen.
It also said security forces had taken control of the site of the landmark Al- Nuri mosque, from where the Daesh head known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself as a so-called caliph.
On June 21, Daesh blew up the iconic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul and its minaret, which was built more than 800 years ago. Except its base the historical minaret was completely destroyed.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said the “liberation” of Al-Nuri mosque and its historic minaret in the city of Mosul marks the end of the so-called "Caliphate state".
In a brief statement al-Abadi said security forces will continue to pursue Daesh until the last member is either killed or captured.