Mosul: Iraqi Prime Minister urges Islamic State to surrender

Haider al-Abadi appeared on state TV and warned the terror group to surrender or die

Mosul: Iraqi Prime Minister urges Islamic State to surrender

Iraq's elite counterterrorism force soldiers raise an Iraqi flag over the main church in Bartella, Iraq | Image: Khalid Mohammed AP/Press Association Images

The Iraqi Prime Minister has urged the Islamic State group to surrender - as government troops move in on its last urban stronghold in the country Mosul.

Haider al-Abadi appeared on state TV and warned the terror group that they have "no choice".

"Either they surrender or die", he 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.

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

BBC is reporting resistance to their advancement, saying IS car bombs targeted the convoy.

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.

A former Islamic State fighter recently told Sky News that the group is shooting women and children fleeing areas under their control to deter others from escaping.

"People tried to flee, because of the conditions in Mosul, to Kurdistan or Baghdad but they would be blown up by IEDs and if they weren't they'd be shot at even if they were kids," he said.