Iraqi government forces on Friday took control over 30 percent of the last district held by Islamic State militants near western Mosul’s Old City, the Federal Police chief said.
Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat said his troops took over 30 percent of al-Shifa district, north of the Old City. He said Islamic State members are currently entrenching inside booby-trapped alleyways and shoots at the forces from afar, and dozens were killed as police artillery and rocket launchers continue to bombard their locations in al-Shifa and Bab al-Toub areas.
Jawdat said the forces also continued to evacuate dozens of civilians from the battlefield.
On Friday, the United Nations refugee agency’s representative in Geneva, Bruno Geddo, said that at least 100.000 civilians were held by IS militants in the Old City, deprived of basic means of living and shot once attempting to flee.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, regained control over eastern Mosul in January, and aimed at western Mosul since mid February. Military commanders suggest IS are controlling less than four square kilometers in western Mosul.