ISIS driven from ruins
The Iraqi army said yesterday that troops have driven ISIS militants out of the town of Nimrud, south of Mosul, near the site of famed ancient Assyrian ruins that were reportedly destroyed by the extremists. Iraq’s special forces meanwhile battled militants in the city of Mosul itself, where they struggled to advance against waves of suicide car bombs. Troops are converging from several fronts on Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the biggest urban area under ISIS control, as part of an offensive launched last month. The special forces have advanced the furthest so far, and hold a handful of districts on the city’s eastern edge. The commander of the Mosul operation said troops took Nimrud, about 30km to the south, after heavy fighting. It was unclear if they had liberated the nearby 13th-century BC archaeological site. The late 1980s discovery of treasures in Nimrud’s royal tombs was one of the 20th century’s most significant archaeological finds. The government said militants, who captured the site in June 2014, destroyed it the following year using heavy military vehicles. In Mosul itself, the special forces said last night they had cleared the Qadisiya and Zahra neighbourhoods, and are planning to advance further in the coming hours.