Iraqi troops advance on eastern Mosul, continuing their assault on Islamic State’s last major stronghold, as the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi releases an audio tape saying he is confident of victory. Ashraf Fahim reports.
Iraqi troops rain missiles down on Islamic State forces as they continue their advance on Mosul. Fierce battles raged on Thursday as the troops pushed into the eastern part of the last major city controlled by the militant group. The bodies of Islamic State fighters lie in the streets of the Intisar neighborhood, which the troops overran. But the Islamic State released their own video claiming to show mortar bombs targeting Kurdish peshmerga troops. As the battle intensifies, Islamic State's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released his first audio tape in nearly a year. Hoping to fire up his troops he told them the battle was a "prelude to victory." Iraqi troops and peshmerga fighters have been closing in on the city of 1.5 million for two weeks. Outside the city's eastern limits, hundreds of civilians streamed out… some waving white flags. Many of them said the siege of the city had hit them hard, making food and water nearly impossible to find. And things are only likely to get harder as the long, bloody battle for Mosul grinds on.