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Iraqi forces launch final assault on Mosul Old City

Sunday, June 18, 2017 - 01:39

Iraqi forces began storming the Islamic State-held Old City of Mosul on Sunday, an assault they hope will be the last in the eight-month campaign to seize the militants' stronghold. Report by Pascale Davies.

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Clouds of smoke and dust fill Mosul's skyline. As Iraqi forces begin their first day in the fight for Mosul old city. The last district held by Islamic State. Fighting has been intense, Special forces and federal police have been met with mortar fire and car bombs. The Iraqi military says it's proceeding slowly into the maze of narrow alleyways to minimise civilian casualties. An estimated 10,000 civilians are trapped in the old city. It's feared they will be caught up in the fighting. Hundred of civilians have already been killed near the frontlines in the past three weeks while fleeing the Old City. A Reuters reporter says several air strikes during the day hit a medical complex. It's still held in part by the militants who are using its buildings as sniper outposts. Islamic State is also using suicide car and motorbike bombs, and booby traps against the troops. The Iraqi government initially hoped to take Mosul by the end of 2016. It wants to give the city a new image, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the self proclaimed leader of Islamic State, declared a caliphate from a mosque in the Old City three years ago. The group is also retreating in Syria, mainly in the face of a U.S backed, Kurdish-led coalition. Its capital there, Raqqa, is under siege.

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Iraqi forces launch final assault on Mosul Old City

Sunday, June 18, 2017 - 01:39