Thousands flee Iraq’s Mosul as battle edges into Old City

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SHAFAQNA – Thousands of Iraqis surged out of western Mosul on Saturday during a lull in heavy fighting in districts around the densely populated Old City where Iraqi forces are facing fierce resistance from Islamic State militants.

Five months into the battle to take Islamic State’s last bastion in Iraq, government forces have cleared the east and half of western Mosul, and are now focused on controlling the Old City as well as the strategic al-Nuri Mosque.

As fighting has entered into the narrow alleyways and densely populated parts of the west, more residents are fleeing liberated areas where food and water are scarce, security fragile and where homes are often caught in shelling.

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