Iraqi forces pushed deeper into Mosul's Old City on Monday after launching a final assault on Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Takfiri ‘ISIS/ISIL' group], warning civilians to stay inside and telling extremists to "surrender or die".
Iraqi forces launched the operation Sunday to retake the district, the last part of Iraq's second city still held by Daesh after a months-long offensive.
Commanders say the extremists are putting up fierce resistance and there are fears for more than 100,000 civilians believed to be trapped in the maze of narrow streets.
Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi, a top commander in Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service, told AFP that heavy fighting had resumed at dawn on Monday.
"At 6:00 am we pushed deeper into the Old City and took control of new areas in the Faruq neighborhood," he said.
"Daesh resistance has been fierce," he said.
"They have blocked every entrance, planted IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and booby trapped houses our forces might be near," he said.
"Penetrating was very difficult. Today the fighting is face to face."
The push into Mosul's historic heart on the west bank of the Tigris River marks the culmination of a months-long campaign by Iraqi forces to retake Daesh's last major urban stronghold in the country.
The loss of Mosul would mark the effective end of the Iraqi portion of the cross-border "caliphate" Daesh proclaimed in summer 2014 after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team