Iraqi troops move into Mosul's Old City, last IS stronghold

Iraqi troops move into Mosul's Old City, last IS stronghold

In this stunning video that's going viral, an American aid worker dodges ISIS gunfire while running to rescue a young girl who was pinned down in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

"This is the final chapter" in the offensive to take Mosul, said Lt. -Gen.

The Iraqi army, federal police and counter-terrorism troops launched the offensive on the Old City, said Brigadier Yahya Rasool spokesman for the Joint Operation Command.

The Iraqi troops Eubank was embedded with coordinated with the USA -led coalition to drop smoke canisters to shield the rescuers from the snipers' view.

"More than 100,000 civilians may still be held in the Old City", Geddo told reporters in Geneva.

Reuters journalist Erik De Castro was at the frontline last Tuesday when civilians began fleeing the Old City by scrambling through a hole in a wall.

The medical complex, housing the two biggest hospitals of Mosul, is still held in part by the militants who are using its buildings as sniper outposts. Around 195,000 have since returned, mainly to the city's east.

The US-backed Iraqi forces have been combatting ISIS in Mosul for almost eight months, in a campaign considered to be the largest against the radical group in Iraq.

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

The militants have lost much of that territory over the last three years, and Mosul is their last urban bastion in Iraq.

Iraqi forces launched a vast operation to retake Mosul in October, seizing the city's eastern side in January and starting an assault on its western part in February. Isis snipers have killed around 230 people as they have tried to cross the Tigris River in small boats, according to the UN.

On the first floor of a building on a street lined with destroyed vehicle fix shops, a commander holding a tablet computer feverishly called in coordinates for an air strike against a suicide auto bomb approaching his position.

Iraqi forces, backed by air cover from a USA -led coalition, are now engaged in a widespread offensive to dislodge Daesh from Mosul, the terrorist group's last stronghold in Iraq. Its capital there, Raqqa, is under siege.

The neighbourhood is characterised by narrow streets, which armoured cars, used in other areas of the city already freed by Iraqi forces, can not enter. It is the final push to remove Isis from the city.

About 850,000 people, more than a third of the pre-war population of the northern Iraqi city, have fled, seeking refuge with relatives or in camps, according to aid groups.

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