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Iraqi forces retake third of west Mosul from 'weakened' ISIL

Federal police and Rapid Response units said they had entered the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where the fight is expected to be toughest due to narrow alleyways through which armored vehicles can not pass.

The operation to recapture west Mosul began on February 19.

Iraqi forces battling to retake Mosul have cut the last road out of the city, trapping Islamic State group fighters inside, the USA envoy to the anti-IS coalition said today.

CTS troops stormed the al-Jadida and al-Aghawat districts on Sunday, Major General Maan al-Saadi told reporters in Mosul, saying the militants were showing signs of weakness despite initial "fierce" resistance.

One of those groups - the Abbas Division - is fighting alongside the regular Iraqi army, which in recent days jointly completed the encirclement of Mosul, about 10 km (6 miles) southeast of Badush.

More than 65,000 fled their homes in the past two weeks alone, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

"Our forces are resolved to advance toward the center of western Mosul", al-Talibi said.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption People leave the village of Badoush as the battle between Iraqi forces and IS intensifies Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Iraqi forces target IS positions near Badoush, some 15km (9.3 miles) northwest of Mosul What happened at the prison?

Meanwhile, Iyad Rafed of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society said the Hammam al-Alil displacement camp - which accommodates up to 4,000 families in southeastern Mosul - is no longer able to receive any more refugees.

He said Daesh militants were retreating against Iraqi forces in the area.

The Hashd al-Shaabi forces, an umbrella pro-Iraq group comprising Iran-backed Shia militias said that the remains found were of "civilian prisoners" who were "executed by (Isis) gangs after they controlled the prison during their occupation of Mosul".

The Hashed said the grave contained the remains of around 500 people killed by IS at the Badush prison, a figure that could not be independently confirmed, but which was in keeping with accounts from Human Rights Watch and the United Nations.

IS has lost "over 60 percent of the territory it once held here in Iraq, and is losing more every day", and is losing fighters faster than it can replace them, McGurk said.