Iraqi forces launched a final assault on Mosul’s Old city, the last stronghold of ISIS in Iraq.
In overnight airstrikes, US-led coalition supported Iraqi forces to advance towards Mosul, Iraqi’s second largest city.
According to US military commanders in Mosul, soldiers say they have broken through the first defense lines that surround the area, where as many as 150,000 civilians are believed to be trapped, starving and serving as human shields to ISIS.
These families are a key source of intelligence as military forces fight on foot, taking one house at a time according to the soldiers.
The Old City of Mosul is the area of the city still under the control of ISIS (Islamic State), who seized the city of Mosul three years ago.
The Iraqi military offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State was launched on October 17. ISIS terrorists were dislodged rather quickly from their stronghold in the east, but retaking the more densely-populated western part of the city, including the Old City, has taken longer than expected.
The Old City is home to the centuries-old al-Nuri mosque, where ISIS emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a Friday sermon in 2014 as his group declared an Islamic caliphate in the areas it controlled in Syria and Iraq. Over the last three years, the terrorists have lost much of that territory, and Mosul is their last urban bastion in Iraq.