Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi predicted on December 27 that it will take only three more months to remove the Islamic State extremist group from Mosul and the rest of Iraq.
The city's fall would effectively end the militant group's ambitions to form a "caliphate" stretching across Syria, Iraq, and other states.
U.S. commanders have said it would take as long as two years to eliminate IS from Iraq, but elite Iraqi soldiers have moved quickly to retake about a quarter of Mosul and areas south of that in offensives this year.
"The Americans were very pessimistic. They used to talk about a really long period, but the remarkable successes achieved by our brave and heroic fighters reduced that. I foresee that in Iraq it will take three months," Abadi told a televised news conference.
Coalition forces this week bombed the last remaining bridge connecting the eastern and western parts of Mosul. They have reconquered parts of eastern Mosul, but IS still occupies the western side of the city.
Mosul -- the largest city seized by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq -- was first captured in June 2014.
Besides Mosul, IS still controls the Iraqi towns of Tel Afar, Qaim, and Hawija.