Iraqi forces launch final assault on Islamic State-held Mosul Old City

19 June, 2017, 00:49 | Author: Ruben Patrick

On Friday, Iraqi army launched an offensive against remaining terrorists in the ancient part of the city.

May 4: Iraqi forces launch a second front in northwestern Mosul to further seal the siege on the Old City, where IS has concentrated most of its resources. "We are proud to stand with them".

Sunday's push to reclaim the Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq comes as USA -backed fighters have undertaken a similar effort in Syria, where ISIS militants have long held onto control of Raqqa.

Yesterday, the Iraqi army announced after weeks of heavy fighting, the contested Shifa neighborhood was reclaimed in west Mosul, reducing the total number of pockets ISIS control to just one.

A general view shows smoke billowing from Mosul's Old City on June 18, 2017, during the ongoing offensive by Iraqi forces to retake the last district still held by Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

The Old City is the most populated part of Mosul and 100,000 civilians are still trapped inside, according to estimates from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Following that, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in another statement that the battle in the Old City of Mosul would be the final push to defeat the ISIS elements in the northern city.

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Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met the family members of the 39 Indian men in Delhi and told them that a source of the government in Iraq had information about a group of Indian men holed up in a "church" in Mosul that is yet to be liberated from Islamic State militants.

Iraqi forces for five days have used loudspeakers to urge Islamic State militants in the Old City to surrender.

Islamic State is using suicide auto and motorbike bombs, booby traps and sniper and mortar fire against the troops.

Baghdadi has left the fighting in Mosul and Raqqa to field commanders, to become effectively a fugitive focused on his own survival in the border area between Iraq and Syria. "Air and artillery strikes will be limited because the area is heavily populated and the buildings fragile", Sabah al-Numan, a spokesman for Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service, told the news outlet al-Hadath, according to Reuters.

In recent days, the USA -led coalition has also come in for criticism from some human rights organizations for its use of white phosphorous in the city.

An estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from Mosul ever since the battle to retake the city began nine months ago.

The Russian military recently claimed to have killed the terror chief in an airstrike in Syria last month.

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