Iraqi forces launched a fresh push to retake the Hatra area

Vastavam web: Iraqi forces today launched a fresh push southwest of Mosul to retake the Hatra area, which includes a UN-listed World Heritage site, a statement said.The operation marks the latest phase of an offensive launched by the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces in parallel to the main assault on Mosul begun six months ago.”Hashed al-Shaabi forces launched Operation Mohammed Rasool Allah aimed at liberating Hatra and neighbouring areas,” the organisation said in a statement.It said that five villages had already been retaken from the Islamic State group today and that Hashed engineering units were clearing the road to Hatra of explosive devices.Hatra, known as Al-Hadhr in Arabic, was established in the 3rd or 2nd century BC and became a religious and trading centre under the Parthian empire.
Hatra finally succumbed to Ardashir I, the founder of the Sassanid dynasty, a few decades later, but the city remained well-preserved over the centuries that followed.Hatra left its mark on pop culture as the location for the opening of horror film “The Exorcist”, which was shot there in 1973.The jihadists damaged parts of Hatra after taking over a third of Iraq in 2014, as part of a heritage destruction campaign that also saw them vandalise Mosul museum, blow up shrines and damage the ruins of the ancient city of Nimrud.