Coalition forces together with the Iraqi military killed no less than 97 Islamic state militants in the wake of artillery attacks along the eastern and southern regions of Mosul during the Christmas weekend.
In a report issued by the Iraqi Joint Military Command, liberation forces were faced with heavy fire including suicide attacks from ISIS militants trying to defend their last remaining strongholds in the beleaguered territories, according to CNN.
The attacks occurred in three separate areas around Mosul, where the first incident involved the deaths of 21 ISIS soldiers were killed when during a botched attempt to bomb a federal police post in the south of Mosul. Iraqi forces detonated a couple of vehicles converted into improvised explosive devices.
The other incident involved a similarly orchestrated plan by ISIS to bomb Iraqi military posts in al Shalam, Intisar and al Shaimaa' along southeastern Mosul. The report says that 51 ISIS militants were killed with their car IED's detonated before reaching their destinations.
The third incident involved airstrikes by coalition-led forces attacking an ISIS group in al Wahda along eastern Mosul. The attack killed 25 ISIS warriors.
Mosul is believed to be the last remaining stronghold of ISIS in Iraq and concentrating their efforts to protect it from being taken back by coalition forces. Security experts believe that ISIS is now massively outnumbered by the coalition forces out to seize control of the region. The terrorist group, however, continue to rely on their asymmetric battle tactics including suicide bombings to sow fear among civilian populations and cause heavy damage to their enemies.
Meanwhile, the US-led coalition forces have taken down the last bridge spanning across the Tigris River in Mosul, which will substantially cut-off a major transport artery into Mosul. This is likely to impact the flow of resources and supplies into the ISIS stronghold.
This was according to an ISIS-backed news agency report where they showed a video of the bombing of a bridge online. A statement was earlier used by the coalition forces saying to successfully disabled a bridge, but did not disclose which one.
The United Nations International Organization for Migration, however, points out that taking out of the bridge which was the last major access route into Mosul could also be a problem to the civilian residents caught in the crossfire. It would hamper evacuation of an estimated one million citizens who needs to be evacuated from the battle zones, as well as relief operations for the civilian population.