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Battle For Mosul Enters Critical Phase

The U.S.-backed military coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Mosul battled their way to within firing range of the Iraqi city's government buildings on March 1. Reuters and AFP photographers have been on the ground to record the fighting.

Civilians attempting to flee Mosul photographed near the body of an Islamic State fighter on February 28. An estimated 1.5 million civilians are still inside the city.
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Civilians attempting to flee Mosul photographed near the body of an Islamic State fighter on February 28. An estimated 1.5 million civilians are still inside the city.

A mortar thrown by Islamic State militants explodes near an Iraqi Army vehicle on February 25. Mosul is where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance, in July 2014, and proclaimed a "caliphate," which then controlled a third of Iraq. 
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A mortar thrown by Islamic State militants explodes near an Iraqi Army vehicle on February 25. Mosul is where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance, in July 2014, and proclaimed a "caliphate," which then controlled a third of Iraq. 

An Iraqi special forces soldier fires at Islamic State fighters' positions on February 28. Mosul is today the last urban stronghold for Islamic State in Iraq. 
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An Iraqi special forces soldier fires at Islamic State fighters' positions on February 28. Mosul is today the last urban stronghold for Islamic State in Iraq. 

A convoy of Iraqi Army vehicles roll towards Mosul on February 27. The U.S.-backed, Iraqi-led coalition consists of approximately 100,000 troops and is the largest mobilization of Iraqi forces since the U.S. invasion of 2003. 
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A convoy of Iraqi Army vehicles roll towards Mosul on February 27. The U.S.-backed, Iraqi-led coalition consists of approximately 100,000 troops and is the largest mobilization of Iraqi forces since the U.S. invasion of 2003. 

Iraqi special forces soldiers sprint across a street during clashes in Mosul on February 28. An estimated 3,000-5,000 Islamic State fighters are still holed up in the city. 
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Iraqi special forces soldiers sprint across a street during clashes in Mosul on February 28. An estimated 3,000-5,000 Islamic State fighters are still holed up in the city. 

Iraqi soldiers dump a suspected Islamic State fighter into a pickup truck on February 26. An Iraqi Army commander told Reuters that, unlike Iraqi-born militants fighting with Islamic State, foreign jihadis have no chance of escaping the city undetected and "will therefore fight to the end."
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Iraqi soldiers dump a suspected Islamic State fighter into a pickup truck on February 26. An Iraqi Army commander told Reuters that, unlike Iraqi-born militants fighting with Islamic State, foreign jihadis have no chance of escaping the city undetected and "will therefore fight to the end."

The bullet-pocked door of an Iraqi special forces vehicle on February 25. 
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The bullet-pocked door of an Iraqi special forces vehicle on February 25. 

An Iraqi special forces soldier moves through a hole as he searches for Islamic State fighters on February 27. 
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An Iraqi special forces soldier moves through a hole as he searches for Islamic State fighters on February 27. 

An Iraqi Army helicopter firing at Islamic State positions on February 26.
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An Iraqi Army helicopter firing at Islamic State positions on February 26.

Civilians run for cover as they flee Mosul's Al-Tayaran neighborhood on February 28. According to Reuters, the first thing many civilians ask Iraqi forces for is a cigarette. Smoking was forbidden under Islamic State rule. 
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Civilians run for cover as they flee Mosul's Al-Tayaran neighborhood on February 28. According to Reuters, the first thing many civilians ask Iraqi forces for is a cigarette. Smoking was forbidden under Islamic State rule. 

Iraqi troops fire a multiple-rocket launcher from a hill on the southwestern outskirts of Mosul on February 27.
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Iraqi troops fire a multiple-rocket launcher from a hill on the southwestern outskirts of Mosul on February 27.

Iraqi special forces soldiers assist a woman injured during fighting on February 28. 
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Iraqi special forces soldiers assist a woman injured during fighting on February 28. 

Iraqi Army troops on the outskirts of Mosul on February 27.
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Iraqi Army troops on the outskirts of Mosul on February 27.

Members of the Iraqi forces advance towards the Dindan neighborhood on February 25.
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Members of the Iraqi forces advance towards the Dindan neighborhood on February 25.

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