Iraqi forces recapture Nineveh train station in western-Mosul

Iraqi general: 30% of west Mosul seized from ISIL

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi said in Baghdad the battle to drive Islamic State (IS) militants from their last urban stronghold is in final stage.

Lieutenant Raed Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police, said in a statement that his forces have added the train station as well as a nearby bus station to that list, both of which are located southwest of Mosul's Old City.

With many IS leaders having already retreated from Mosul, Ansary's death comes as blow to the militants as they defend their shrinking area of control in Iraq's second largest city.

The sight and sounds of combat were evident in western Mosul on Tuesday as heavy fighting resumed.

Iraqi forces are now fighting ISIS in western Mosul after declaring the city's east "fully liberated" in January.

The southernmost two bridges have already been retaken.

In Iraq, government forces took control of a main iron bridge over the Tigris River, linking eastern Mosul with the militant-held Old City on Wednesday.

Since starting the offensive in October, Iraqi forces with US-led coalition and Iranian support via Shia jihadist organisations have retaken eastern Mosul and claim to have taken about 30 per cent of the west from the militants, who are outnumbered but fiercely defending their last stronghold in Iraq.

Tens of thousands of people have streamed out of west Mosul since February 25, and security forces are searching for IS jihadists trying to sneak out of the city among civilians.

Soldiers packed them into trucks on the Mosul-Baghdad highway to be taken to processing areas.

A displaced Iraqi man who had fled his home has his beard shaved inside Hamam al-Alil camp, south of Mosul on Tuesday.


"Daesh wanted us to move to their areas but we escaped when the army arrived", he said.

Until the latest phase of the battle to take western Mosul, the campaign had gone well with lower-than-expected civilian losses, Khanjar said crediting the professionalism of the U.S. trained elite forces.

"Daesh is a common foe that we need to face", Mr Hishammuddin told reporters, using an Arab acronym for ISIS, after meeting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in parliament.

As many as 600,000 civilians are thought to still be in the Old City along with the militants. It would break the militant group's hold on territory in Iraq and end its control over half the "caliphate", which once spanned from northern Syria through western Iraq.

While the two areas had been "entirely liberated" by Iraqi forces, Abu Raghif said, they still had to be cleared of a system of tunnels and bunkers used by Daesh fighters.