UPDATED: Iraqi forces isolate Mosul’s Old City, kill IS media officer

Federal police members aim their weapons at a man, whom they thought was a member of Islamic State but later turned out to be mentally handicapped, during a battle with Islamic State fighters at Bab al Beed district in the old city of Mosul
REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Mosul ( Iraqi government forces recaptured on Tuesday several areas inside and around the Islamic State-held Old City, putting the area under full siege, and killed doze of militants as operations continue to clear the group’s last enclave in Mosul.

Col. Khodeir Saleh, from Nineveh police service, told BasNews that Federal Police forces invaded Deka Baraka and Bab Lakash in the Old City, killing 30 militants, including a Russian national.

Iraqi warplanes, Saleh said, also killed Islamic State’s so-designated “media minister”, Udai hamdoun. But seven civilians were also killed by mistake when fighter jets pounded al-Maydan area in central Mosul, he said.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, quoting operations chief Abdulamir Yarallah, also said 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 forces took over the ancient Bash Tabia Castle, a juvenile offenders’ prison, the Nineveh Health Department, the Marie Church and the fifth of Mosul’s five bridges linking both sides of Mosul, said the statement.

Operations in al-Shifa have been running simultaneously with advances towards the Old City, Islamic State’s last bastion in Mosul and the place where it first proclaimed its rule in 2014. The development puts the Old City under full siege.

A few hundred militants are thought to be entrenching in the Old City, holding at least 100.000 who are reportedly used as human shields.

The recapture of Mosul would signal and end to the “Islamic Caliphate” proclaimed by IS in 2014. There remains a few, but smaller, enclaves held by IS which the government would charge at after the end of the campaign in Mosul.

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