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Battle for Mosul: civilians flee as Iraqi troops push deeper into ISIL held areas

Battle for Mosul: civilians flee as Iraqi troops push deeper into ISIL held areas
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In Iraq, more than a thousand civilians have fled western Mosul as Iraqi troops push deeper into ISIL held areas.

Some 1,200 residents managed to escape on Sunday amid fierce clashes. The UN estimates up to three quarters of a million people may still be trapped inside the city.

Government forces are reported to have made steady
progress since launching their offensive on the western half of Mosul about a week ago.

Backed by airstrikes, the Iraqi army is now said to be fully in control of the airport and a major military installation in the city.

Iraqi security analyst Fadel Abu Raghif said: ‘‘The Ghizlani military camp is located on higher ground so the extremists can’t attack with indirect fire. Their shells have lost half of their power. It is also difficult for them to attack uphill. The Iraqi forces will have more power attacking from higher ground.”

Sustained heavy artillery is being used to batter ISIL positions.

Iraqi commanders say they expect the battle for Mosul to become more difficult as they get closer to the old city.

The jihadists have developed a complex network of tunnels enabling them to hide among the civilian population, while tanks and armoured vehicles are also unable to pass through the city’s narrow alleyways.

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