BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – Over the past 24 hours, the Iraqi Army has initiated a remarkable pincer offensive in the largely ISIS-held Old City neighborhood of Mosul, ultimately looking to cut the tiny Islamic State pocket in two by joining forces at the Al-Sa’ah Roundabout, a key junction in the heart of the densely populated district.
After liberating the Al-Saa church intact, the Iraqi Federal Police secured the Al-Zewani Mosque in the southwestern sector of the embattled neighborhood on Tuesday morning after imposing full control over the Al-Farooq residential area hours earlier.
With rapid gains finally underway through the narrow streets of the Old City, Iraqi troops also captured around a dozen homemade rocket launchers and a makeshift field hospital where significant batches of pain killers were recovered:
Notably, recent government gains have secured large stretches of the main roads in the Old City; in turn, civilians are able to escape more easily through the humanitarian corridors that are vital to reduce collateral damage.
Meanwhile, Amaq Agency released a by now rare video depicting ISIS militants amid their last-ditch defense in the battle for the Old City, the last Mosul neighborhood where jihadist belligerents maintain a presence:
In a related event, two ISIS sleeper cells opened fire on police officers in the Al-Jazar district (liberated over six months ago) on the eastern bank of the Tigris River on Monday. However, the assailants were hunted down by shop owners and local residents who beat them to death before security forces managed to interfere.