Iraqi forces say they’re pushing into the Outdated Metropolis of Mosul and shutting in on a key mosque regardless of fierce resistance from Islamic State (IS) militants.
Federal police chief Lt-Gen Raed Jawdat stated officers had been besieging the realm across the Nice Mosque of al-Nuri.
The constructing was the place IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the institution of a “caliphate” in 2014.
Gen Jawdat stated police had additionally retaken the Qadheeb al-Ban district and the al-Malab sports activities stadium, to the west.
Elite troops from the inside ministry’s Fast Response Drive had been additionally advancing into the Outdated Metropolis on Wednesday, an official informed the Reuters information company.
Iraqi authorities forces launched a serious offensive to recapture Mosul, the final main IS city stronghold within the nation, in October.
Supported by US-led coalition air strikes and navy advisers, they’ve managed to retake giant elements of town and its surrounding space.
They regained full management of all of jap Mosul in January and have pushed militants from a number of districts since beginning an assault on the west on 19 February.
On Wednesday, Reuters correspondents on the bottom in western Mosul reported that helicopters had been strafing IS positions on the sting of the Outdated Metropolis.
Fleeing residents additionally stated that they had heard sustained gunfire contained in the Outdated Metropolis.
Gen Jawdat additionally introduced that police forces had killed IS well being minister, Saadallah Abu Shuaib, and his two guards close to the Republican Hospital.
To the west within the city of Tal Afar, the Iraqi air pressure carried out a number of air strikes, destroying an IS safety headquarters and two workshops making automotive bombs and booby-traps, the navy’s media workplace stated.
In the meantime, Pope Francis stated it was “crucial and pressing” to guard civilians in Mosul, the place at the very least 307 individuals have been killed and 273 wounded in simply over a month.
It comes a day after the highest US commander in Iraq stated the coalition “most likely had a job” in an explosion in western Mosul that killed as many as 200 individuals. However Lt-Gen Stephen Townsend added that IS may additionally have “had a hand” in it.
A coalition air strike – reportedly concentrating on IS snipers and tools – is believed to have hit a home within the Jadida district on 17 March.
Witnesses informed the UN that at the very least 140 civilians had been being held there as human shields. In addition they stated militants had booby-trapped the home with bombs.
UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein has additionally known as on the coalition and Iraqi safety forces to overview their techniques in Mosul in gentle of the incident, urging them to keep away from “traps” laid by IS and take each precaution to forestall civilian deaths.
The rights group Amnesty Worldwide warned that any failure to take ample precautions can be a “flagrant violation of worldwide humanitarian regulation”.