>> Clouds of smoke and dust fill Mosul's skyline as Iraqi forces begin their first day in the fight for Mosul old city, the last district held by Islamic State. Fighting has been intense. Special forces and federal police have been met with mortar fire and car bombs. The Iraqi military says it's proceeding slowly into the maze of narrow alley ways to minimize civilian casualties.
An estimated 10,000 civilians are trapped in the old city. It's feared they'll be caught up in the fighting. Hundreds of civilians have already been killed near the frontlines in the past three weeks while feeling the old city. A Reuters reporter says several airstrikes during the day hit a medical complex.
It's still held in part by the militants. Who are using its buildings for sniper outposts. Islamic state is also using suicide car and motorbike bombs and booby-traps against the troops. The Iraqi government initially hoped to take Mosul by the end of 2016. It wants to give the city a new image.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self proclaimed leader if Islamic State, declared a caliphate from a mosque in the old city, three years ago. The group is also retreating in Syria. Mainly in the face of a US backed Kurdish led coalition. Its capital there, Raqqa, is under seige