Iraqi forces have entered ISIS-held Mosul for the first time in more than two years and are battling ISIS militants on the front line, defense officials told CNN.
Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesman Brig. Gen. Tahsin Ibrahim told CNN that units of the 9th Armored Division had entered the city on Thursday, adding that troops had stormed the neighborhood of al Intisar in the east.
Penetrating the eastern border on Thursday has been the most significant breakthrough in the offensive launched two weeks ago to free the key city from the militant group’s brutal rule.
Officials had warned that entering Mosul would likely trigger the fiercest fighting yet, and that the battle is expected to be fought “street to street,” or even “house to house.”
- Iraqi forces have cleared two blocks of al Intisar
- The Defense Ministry says there is a safe passage for civilians to flee
- Hundreds of civilians have poured out of Mosul
- Coalition warplanes have struck several targets, US members of the operation say
- Among targets hit was an ISIS convoy carrying senior members, a bridge, an IED factory and two tunnels