Two thirds of old Mosul have retaken from IS: Iraqi forces

Vastavam web:  Iraqi forces have retaken two thirds of old Mosul, a week after launching an offensive against the Islamic State group’s last bastion in the city, a senior commander said today. Lieutenant Colonel Salam al-Obeidi was speaking to AFP inside the devastated Old City, about 50 metres from what is left of the “Hadba” leaning minaret the jihadists blew up four days earlier.He estimated that only “a few hundred Daesh fighters” were left in the Old City, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The ornamental brickwork on the base of the 12th century “Hadba” (Hunchback) minaret, which was Mosul’s symbol and one of the most recognizable landmarks in Iraq, was visible in the background.The jihadists simultaneously blew up the nearby Nuri mosque, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his first sermon as IS leader in July 2014, his last public appearance to date.The narrow, windy streets of the Old City, an area packed with heritage treasures covering about three square kilometres on Mosul’s west bank of the Tigris, were littered with rubble.The jihadists, who have no escape from their last redoubt in the Old City, have mounted a fierce defence using booby traps, mortars, suicide attacks and snipers.