Iraqi forces launch attack on Mosul old city

Photo: AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

Iraqi forces launched an assault Sunday to retake Mosul’s Old City, the last district still held by the Islamic State group three years after the jihadists seized the northern city and declared their “caliphate”, Agence-France Presse.

Military commanders told AFP the assault had begun at dawn after overnight air strikes by the US-led coalition backing Iraqi forces. They said the jihadists were putting up fierce resistance, AFP added.

The push into Mosul’s Old City — a densely populated warren of narrow alleyways on the western side of Iraq’s second city — marks the culmination of a months-long campaign by Iraqi forces to retake IS’s last major urban stronghold in the country, AFP indicated.

The loss of Mosul would mark the effective end of the Iraqi portion of the cross-border “caliphate” IS declared in the summer of 2014 after seizing large parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, AFP explained.

According to AFP, the military announced the start of the assault in a statement, saying the army, counter-terrorism forces and federal police had “launched an attack on the Old City”.

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