Wednesday, August 23, 2017 | ePaper

Iraqi troops move into Mosul's old city, last IS stronghold

  • Print


Iraqi forces, consisting of the Iraqi federal police and the elite Rapid Response Division, patrol in the Shifa neighbourhood, on the west bank of Mosul.

AP, Baghdad :
U.S.-backed Iraqi troops pushed into the last Islamic State stronghold in the country's second largest city of Mosul on Sunday, an Iraqi commander said, formally launching the final major battle of an eight-month campaign.
The IS group captured Mosul when it swept across northern and central Iraq in the summer of 2014. Iraq launched a massive operation to retake the city last October, and has driven the militants from all but a handful of neighborhoods. The extremists are expected to make their last stand in the Old City, a densely populated quarter with narrow, winding alleys.
Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah, who commands army operations in Ninevah province, said Iraqi special forces, the regular army and Federal Police are taking part in the operation to retake the Old City, which began Sunday at dawn.
Iraq state TV aired live footage showing thick black smoke rising from the Old City and gunfire rattling from inside. It said leaflets were distributed urging civilians to leave through five "safe corridors."
Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, the head of Iraq's special forces, told state TV he expects the extremists to put up a "vicious and tough fight."
The Old City is home to the centuries-old al-Nuri mosque, where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a Friday sermon in 2014 as his group declared an Islamic caliphate in the areas it controlled in Syria and Iraq. The militants have lost much of that territory over the last three years, and Mosul is their last urban bastion in Iraq.
Up to 150,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in the Old City, where the militants are using them as human shields, U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande told The Associated Press on Friday. She said conditions are "desperate," with little food and no clean water.
Earlier report adds: Iraqi forces on Sunday started their assault on Mosul's Old City as they press their battle to retake the northern city from the Islamic State group, an army commander said.
"The army, counter-terrorism forces and federal police launched an attack on the Old City," Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement.
Staff Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, a senior commander with the Counter-Terrorism Service, confirmed the "start of the assault on the Old City".
Iraqi forces backed by the air strikes of the US-led coalition are pressing a months-long offensive to retake the Old City on the west side of the city from the jihadists.
"The initial air strikes started at around midnight. The security forces started storming parts of the Old City at dawn," an officer with Nineveh operations command said.
Taking back the Old City, a densely populated warren of narrow alleyways on the western side of Mosul, is crucial to recapturing the whole of the former IS bastion.
The United Nations say around 100,000 civilians are trapped in the ancient city centre.
Iraqi forces launched the battle for Mosul in October, retaking the eastern part of the city in January and starting the operation for its western part the next month.
The Islamic State group overran Mosul in 2014, declaring a self-styled "caliphate" over areas it ruled.

More News For this Category

After Trump`s warning, China jumps to defense of Pakistan

After Trump`s warning, China jumps to defense of Pakistan

PTI, New Delhi :China today jumped to the defence of its all-weather ally Pakistan in the wake of US President Donald Trump's stern warning to it over providing safe havens

India's top court bans Islamic instant  divorce

India's top court bans Islamic instant divorce

Reuters, New Delhi :India's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled a controversial Muslim instant divorce law unconstitutional, a landmark victory for Muslim women who had long argued that it violated their

Appeals court revives suit over US military base in Japan

Appeals court revives suit over US military base in Japan

AP, San Francisco :A federal appeals court Monday revived a lawsuit that seeks to block construction of a U.S. military base in Okinawa, Japan over concerns about its impact on

Iran says can produce highly enriched uranium in days if US quits deal

Iran says can produce highly enriched uranium in days if US quits deal

Reuters, London :Iran can resume production of highly enriched uranium within five days if the nuclear deal it struck with world powers in 2015 is revoked, Iran's atomic chief was

US, S Korea drills begin amid tensions with North Korea

US, S Korea drills begin amid tensions with North Korea

Reuters, Seoul :South Korean and US forces began computer-simulated military exercises on Monday amid tensions over North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, amid reports that Pyongyang has generated at least

News In Brief

Jailed Hong Kong activist Wong back in courtAFP, Hong Kong With hair newly shaven in accordance with Hong Kong prison rules, jailed pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was in court again

Tourist bus crash in Macedonia kills one woman, injures nearly 30

Xinhua, Skopje :A woman died and at least 28 passengers were injured when a bus filled with tourists crashed on a highway near the Macedonian town of Veles on

Indian railway ministry suspends 4 officials over deadly rail accident

Xinhua, New Delhi :The Indian railway ministry suspended four officials and sent on leave three of its top officials, including a secretary-level railway board official, following a deadly rail

Trump sends `thoughts and prayers` to US sailors in crash

Trump sends `thoughts and prayers` to US sailors in crash

AFP, Washington :US President Donald Trump late Sunday tweeted his "thoughts and prayers" to the sailors aboard a US destroyer that collided with a tanker near Singapore, leaving 10

US-South Korea set for divisive military drills

US-South Korea set for divisive military drills

BBC Online :The US and South Korea are conducting annual military drills which consistently infuriate Pyongyang, despite appeals to halt the exercise.Last week North Korea appeared to back down