Iraqi troops push deeper into Mosul's Old City

Iraq’s military pushed deeper into Mosul’s Old City on Wednesday, taking two more districts from Daesh and bringing it closer to total control of the city.
The army’s 16th infantry division captured Hadarat Al Saada and Al Ahmadiyya, the military said in a statement.
The areas are northwest of the historic Grand Al Nuri Mosque which the militants destroyed last week.
“Fifty per cent of this area has been liberated, Al Mashada and Al Ahmadiyya and Al Saada,” Major General Jabbar Al Darraji told Iraqi state television.
“Our troops are now moving towards Farouq Street,” he said, referring to the Old City’s main north-south thoroughfare.
Federal policemen walked through piles of rubble amid wrecked houses on Wednesday to reach the frontline, southwest of Al Nuri mosque.
A correspondent said they exchanged mortars and sniper fire with militants.
The minaret of the Ziwani mosque, which is cleared of militants, has been partially destroyed, and the cross had been removed from the bell tower of Shamoon Al Safa church, a Reuters correspondent said.
Five Daesh fighters tried to flee across the Tigris River to the eastern side of Mosul but were killed by security forces, the military said on Wednesday.
Those residents who have escaped the Old City say many of the civilians trapped behind Daesh lines – put at 50,000 by the Iraqi military – are in a desperate situation with little food, water or medicines.
Darraji, the army general, said one of his soldiers had been killed when he seized a militant wearing a suicide vest amid a crowd of fleeing civilians.
“The heroic fighter was martyred, protecting the lives of many citizens,” he said.
Daesh still controls the mosque’s grounds and about half of the territory in the Old City, its last redoubt in Mosul.

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