Over 700 civilians flee Mosul’s Old City

A member of Iraqi forces looks at displaced civilians as they get off a bus after their arrival at Hammam al-Alil camp south of Mosul, Iraq May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Mosul ( More than 700 civilians fled the last IS-held district in western Mosul over the past 24 hours, an Iraqi military source said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Cap. Jabbar Hassan said troops of the ninth armored division of the Iraqi army and Federal Police troops transferred the fleeing civilians, most of whom were women and children, to outside the Old City without naming it.

In related news, Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, head of the Federal Police, said in a statement that 32 IS militants were killed in battlefields in the Old City.

Several areas inside and around the Old City have been recaptured putting the area under full siege.

A statement by Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, quoted Nineveh Operations Commander Abdulamir Yarallah earlier on Tuesday, as saying that troops from the 9th division of the Iraqi army recaptured the southern part of al-Shifa district, a home to several major health facilities north of the Old City.

The Old City are the biggest challenge for Iraqi troops to complete liberation of the city due to its densely-populated yet narrow alleyways, which makes it hard to military vehicles to invade. It is home to the Grand Nuri al-Kabeer mosque, where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his self-styled “caliphate” covering parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Iraqi troops were able to retake the eastern side of Mosul in January, one month after another major offensive was launched to retake the western side.

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