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Iraqi Forces Close in on Mosul Mosque as Residents Flee

19 March 2017 14:56

 

Iraqi army helicopters strafed and fired rockets at ISIL positions in Mosul’s Old City on Sunday as troops on the ground closed in on the strategic and symbolic prize of the al-Nuri Mosque.

Federal Police troops had advanced past the train station in western Mosul closer to the mosque. A police commander said they were very close to taking control of it.

Residents fled from the area, carrying bags of belongings and picking their way through the wrecked buildings as shells and gunfire echoed behind them. Most of them were women and children.

“Federal Police and Rapid Response forces resumed their advance after halting operations due to bad weather. The troops have a target of retaking the rest of the Old City,” a police spokesman said.

The battle to recapture ISIL’s last stronghold in Iraq has now entered its sixth month.

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