ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi troops on Sunday entered Mosul’s Old City located in the north of the country, aiming to dislodge the Islamic State (IS) from the area.
One of the historic districts of Mosul, the area has become a stronghold for the insurgent group since its emergence in Iraq in June 2014.
“The army, counter-terrorism forces, and the federal police began to break into the Old City to liberate what is left in western Mosul,” the Commander of the Mosul campaign Major General Abdul-Amir Yarallah said in a statement.
The liberation of the Old City of Mosul is a strategic goal for the Iraqi troops because it represents a significant symbol for IS.
It was the place where the militant group declared its caliphate after seizing territories in Iraq and Syria in mid-2014.
In a separate statement, Federal Police Chief Major-General Raed Shaker Jawdat revealed his forces had regained control over the Medical Complex Compound and the Blood Bank in the al-Shifa neighborhood next to the Old City.
Jawdat also mentioned the federal police killed 19 militants and defused several suicide car bombs.
He stated his forces were advancing to free the Shifa Hospital, al-Jumhuriya Hospital, the Children's Hospital, and the Medical College.
The Mosul military operation is largely supported by airstrikes from the US-led coalition which repeatedly target IS bases in the city.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany