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ISIS-held sections of Mosul surrounded

BAGHDAD — A senior official of the US-led coalition in Iraq said Sunday that the remaining western Mosul neighborhoods held by the Islamic State have been surrounded and the Iraqi army has seized control of the last road leading out of the city.

Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the global coalition against ISIS, announced the developments during a press conference in the Iraqi capital Sunday.

Iraqi forces are fighting the Islamic State in western Mosul after declaring the city’s east ‘‘fully liberated’’ in January.

ISIS overran Mosul in the summer of 2014 and swept across large swaths of the country’s north and west. At the height of the group’s power in Iraq, it controlled nearly a third of the country.


The militant group has lost more than 60 percent of the territory its once held in Iraq, McGurk said Sunday.

In a separate development, progovernment Iraqi fighters said more evidence has been found of a massacre in 2014 of up to 600 detainees at Badoush prison near Mosul.

The Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces, a government-sponsored coalition of local militias, said human remains in prison uniforms were found at the site when it was recaptured by Iraqi fighters last week.

A spokesman for the paramilitary force, which is made up primarily of Shi’ite fighters, said the bodies were lined up in a way that suggested prisoners were executed.

In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch said ISIS killed hundreds of prisoners, most of them Shi’ites, when it seized Mosul that year.

According to the rights group’s report, survivors of the massacre said at the time that ISIS gunmen separated the Shi’ite prisoners from Sunnis and Christians and led them to a ravine, where they were told to kneel before being shot in the head or back

In another development, Iraqi archeologists said they think that tunnels dug by Islamic State militants under a destroyed shrine in Mosul have revealed the palace of an ancient Assyrian king who ruled some 2,700 years ago.


ISIS fighters blew up the shrine of the biblical Jonah’s tomb in 2014 after taking control of the city. They started digging tunnels into the side of the hill under the shrine, leading to the discovery.

Ancient inscriptions and winged bulls and lions were found deep in the tunnels, thought to be part of the palace of King Esarhaddon, who ruled the Neo-Assyrian empire in the seventh-century BC.