Mosul battle: Iraqi PM Abadi urges IS to surrender

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Media caption,
The BBC's Ian Pannell has been travelling with Iraqi special forces as they prepare to enter Mosul

The prime minister of Iraq has urged the Islamic State group to surrender as government troops close in on its last urban stronghold in the country, Mosul.

Haider al-Abadi appeared on state TV wearing combat fatigues and said: "They have no choice. Either they surrender or they die."

Iraqi special forces are now about 1km (0.6 miles) away from Mosul's eastern edge and preparing to enter.

Units of the army are meanwhile advancing from the south.

Using another name for IS, Mr al-Abadi said: "We will close in on Daesh from all angles and God willing we will cut the snake's head. They will have no way out and no way to escape."

Mr al-Abadi is the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Shiite militiamen are fighting alongside the Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni Arab tribesmen

The BBC's Ian Pannell, who is travelling with Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) troops, says there was some resistance to their advance on Monday.

He said IS car bombs targeted the convoy.

Life under IS - by Rakan Jauid Aid

Image source, Norwegian Refugee Council
Image caption,
Rakan Jauid Aid says he is responsible for providing for 15 family members

When Daesh (a term for IS) entered Mosul, they killed my father because he was a police officer. I got away - they didn't come after me.

My village was besieged for two years and a couple of months. If I had spoken to anyone about being in the police or army, Daesh would have killed me.

It happened to many of my close friends. They would go to their homes and Daesh would just take them away.

Daesh are just beards. They force you to attend all the prayers at the mosque. If your woman is not wearing a hijab, they will whip you - they have complete control.

Units of the Iraqi military recaptured some villages to the east, north and south of Mosul on Monday, according to the army.

It is unclear when the final offensive on Mosul will begin, and resistance from IS in the city has intensified.

About 50,000 Iraqi security forces personnel, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen are involved in the offensive, which began more than two weeks ago, to drive IS militants out of their last major urban stronghold in the country.

Image caption,
Mr al-Abadi also released an image of himself entering a helicopter

Mosul fell to the jihadists in June 2014 and their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chose a mosque in the city as a place to proclaim the establishment of a "caliphate".

Before the offensive began on 17 October, there were believed to be between 3,000 and 5,000 militants remaining in Mosul, along with up to 1.5 million civilians.

More than 17,700 residents have fled so far and, according to the UN's worst-case scenario, as many as 700,000 others could follow suit.