Iraqi forces, consisting of the Iraqi federal police and the elite Rapid Response Division, advance in the Old City in western Mosul on March 17, 2017, (Photos by AFP)
Iraqi security forces battling terrorists have reached within 600 meters of west Mosul’s Great Mosque, where Daesh announced its so-called caliphate.
According to Federal Police Chief Raed Shaker Jawdat on Saturday, security and rapid response sources closed in on the al-Hadba Minaret and the Great Mosque of Nuri in the Old City, after engaging in fierce street battles with the terrorists.
Daesh’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, announced the forming of the group’s so-called caliphate from the mosque in 2014.
The police chief added that the mosque has now been fully surrounded, and that Iraqi drones are monitoring the terrorists’ movements in the area.
As clashes between Iraqi forces is intensifying in the Old City, thousands of Iraqis have managed to flee the areas under the control of the terrorists.
A member of the Iraqi forces, consisting of the Iraqi federal police and the elite Rapid Response Division, stands as troops advance in the Old City in western Mosul on March 17, 2017, during the offensive to retake the city from Daesh terrorists.
“It is terrible, Daesh has destroyed us. There is no food, no bread. There is absolutely nothing,” said one resident who managed to escape.
Earlier in the day, police announced that they had found a Daesh prison in the Bab al-Saray area, during an operation in the city.
Colonel Khodier Saleh said that 10 prisoners were found in the prison, which was only accessible from a tunnel. He added that light weapons and several important documents were also found in the prison.
Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched an offensive to retake Mosul in October 2016. The forces took control of eastern Mosul in January and launched the battle in the west on February 19.