20 April, 2017
Lieutenant-General Raed Chaker, the chief of the militarized federal police, said that his forces had launched a surprise encirclement operation early Sunday in the Old City of western Mosul, where the historic al-Nouri Mosque is located.
A member of the Iraqi forces carries a rocket launcher on his back in the old city of Mosul on April 16, 2017.
Nearly half a million civilians have fled Mosul since the start of a massive operation by US-backed Iraqi forces to retake the city from Islamic State militants.
But Allawi warned that retaking Mosul will not be the end of the fight against IS in the country.
This is the second time in as much days that IS terrorists have used chemical weapons in an effort to stop government troops' advance on the old city.
Iraqi security forces are trying to retake al-Nuri mosque in the old city.More news: Oil loses momentum on concern over supply that Citi sees easing
Brigadier General Rick Uribe, a senior coalition commander, lamented that they find it hard to negotiate alleyways and narrow streets.
The Iraqi government has issued instructions to civilians on how to stay safe as forces continue their assault on the IS-held western side of the city. The authorities are now setting their sights on the Tigris River which divides the city.
ISIS terrorist group launched a chemical attack in a recently-liberated area in Western part of Mosul in Nineveh province, severely wounding several Iraqi soldiers.
Seven alleys in the neighborhood were recaptured, al-Alusi said, adding that his forces killed 15 armed militants and arrested another three; they also destroyed a booby-trapped vehicle through which a suicide bomber tried to target Iraqi troops.
The UN estimated that another half million civilians were still in ISIS-controlled areas of west Mosul.
He said that around 30 people had been killed in the attack. While admitting that battles in the western side of Mosul proved more hard that those in the east, Iraqi and coalition commanders said IS's influence was receding as many top leaders were either counted dead or tracked escaping the battlefield.