BAGHDAD, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi units on Saturday killed nine Islamic State (IS) militants in a fierce clash near the border with Syria, the units said in a statement.
The attack occurred in the early morning Saturday when the Hashd Shaabi fighters, backed by artillery, repelled the attack of dozens of IS militants at a military outpost and forced them to retreat to their bases in Syria, the units said in a statement.
The clashes and the artillery shelling killed nine IS militants and wounded four others, destroying three IS vehicles, including two carrying heavy machine guns, the statement said.
In a separate statement, Lt. Gen. Raed Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police forces said that his troops are still in western Mosul to secure the battlefield to help the rescue teams and explosive experts to remove debris and clear hundreds of tons of different projectiles, roadside bombs, booby-trapped vehicles and heavy weapons left by IS militants.
The security forces and the local authorities are exerting every effort to clear the western side of Mosul to pave the way for the displaced people to return to their homes, Jawdat said.
The federal police found a training center in the al-Sa'ah church compound in the old city in the western side of Mosul on Saturday, and seized 10 explosive belts, ammunition, four mortars and dozens of projectiles, Jawdat said.
The troops also shot dead a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest when he tried to attack a checkpoint in Yarmouk neighborhood in west Mosul, locally known as the right bank of the Tigris River, which bisects the city of Mosul, Jawdat added.
On July 10, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared Mosul's liberation from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.
The Iraqi forces, including the predominantly Shiite Hashd Shaabi units and Sunni tribal fighters, still have to wage more offensives to drive out IS militants from their redoubts in the towns of Tal Afar, Hawijah in Kirkuk, the adjacent sprawling rugged areas in eastern Salahudin province, in addition to the remaining IS strongholds in the border areas with Syria in Anbar province.