Iraqi forces continued to fight door-to-door in the Old City of Mosul, as the U.S.-backed offensive to capture the Islamic State’s (ISIS) de facto capital in Iraq entered its seventh month. There were exchanges of gunfire and mortar inside the old city near the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, from where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” spanning parts of Iraq and Syria. “Operations are ongoing, thanks God. They [ISIS militants] carry attacks on our defensive lines, but each time we repel them and they run away, leaving bodies of their dead fighters behind. Minutes ago they launched an attack and we responded by shelling them with mortar rounds, killing two of them and their bodies were left in front of our defensive lines”, Colonel Hussein Lazim Zghayer said. The war between ISIS militants and Iraqi forces is taking a heavy toll on several hundred thousand civilians trapped inside the city, with severely malnourished babies reaching hospitals in government-held areas. About 400,000 civilians, or a quarter of Mosul’s pre-war population, are trapped in the Old City, according to United Nations’ figures.