Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Federal Police forces pounded Islamic State locations in western Mosul’s Old City on Monday preparing for the invasion of the group’s last bastion in that region.
The service’s commander, Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, said in a press statement that police used heavy artillery and Grad rockets, backed by drones, to strike dozens of targets including command centers, supply stores, artillery and transportation vehicles belonging to the group.
Deputy Federal Police commander, Maj. Gen Jaafar al-Battat, was quoted Sunday saying in statements that the density of the civilian population in the Old City had obliged the delay in the invasion until districts overlooking it from the northwest were retaken.
Only four districts are left under Islamic State militants’ control : the Old City: Zanjili, al-Shifaa abd al-Sihha, according to Battat, who added that the Old City had recently seen an increase in militants numbers as many sought refuge there after Iraqi forces had retaken areas to the northwest, most notably the 17 Tamuz and Iktisadiyeen districts.
Iraqi troops recaptured eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting, and the Iraqi security command said earlier this week in controls 89.5 percent of the western side of the city, three months after a second phase of the campaign launched to recapture that region.
The densely populated and structured Old City is the place where IS supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi proclaimed the establishment of the group’s rule in Iraq and Syria.