Iraqi Forces Push Towards Mosul's Old City

Iraqi Forces Push Towards Mosul's Old City

 Iraqi federal police forces pushed further into Mosul's al-Zanjili's district as operations continue to dislodge Islamic State militants from the city, military sources said.

Federal police said that they now control 40 percent of the district, one of the four comprising Islamic State's enclave in the city.

The advance is part of an operation which began a week ago to dislodge the militants from the enclave and finish off the offensive to capture Mosul, now in its eighth month.

The elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) units took the Sihha district, also on Friday, while troops of the Iraqi army's 9th Armored division continued their push into al-Shifa district on the bank of the river Tigris.

Iraqi forces launched the offensive to liberate western Mosul from ISIS on February 19, quickly regaining control of four neighborhoods, Mosul International Airport and Ghozlani army base, which includes barracks and training grounds close to the Baghdad-Mosul highway.

Iraqi government forces retook eastern Mosul in January and began a new push on May 27 to capture the enclave where about 200,000 people are trapped in harrowing conditions.

The fall of Mosul would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the ''caliphate'' declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and Syria by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a speech from a historic mosque in the old city.