The Iraqi Federal Police command said Monday its troops resumed advances towards a strategic mosque in western Mosul as operations continue to clear the region from ISIL militants.
The command said its forces proceeded towards Al-Hadbaa (leaning) Minaret at the Grand Nuri al-Kabir Mosque, where ISIL ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivered a famous sermon in 2014, Iraqi News reported.
The statement said forces had killed 36 ISIL members and destroyed 13 booby-trapped vehicles.
Inclement weather over the past few days had added to the difficulties facing Iraqi troops eyeing the Old City, a strategic target where the mosque is located. The area’s narrow alleyways and the density of the civilian population therein had prompted Iraqi troops to rely solely on precision air and artillery strikes without advancing on the ground.
Iraqi government troops recaptured Eastern Mosul in January and are working to retake the Western side of the city, making a remarkable progress by recapturing major government facilities, the city’s airport and a major military base.
The Iraqi forces liberated the residential compound near cement factory in Mosul’s Badoush, as the authorities say that more than 180,000 displaced from the west of the city.