Iraqi forces have advanced through the borders of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, impenetrable for more than two years.
Iraqi defence officials confirmed troops had entered the city via the eastern suburb of al Intisar two weeks after the offensive was launched. The Iraqi-led coalition includes 100,000 troops who have been eradicating ISIS from villages on the path to Mosul. However, an exclusively Iraqi force has entered the key city. Hundreds of civilians have been evacuated by the Iraqis.
An estimated 5,000 ISIS members stationed in the city have been urged by their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to stand firm in the face of the coalition assault. “Holding your ground in honour is a thousand times better than retreating in disgrace,” Baghdadi said in his radio message.
20 killed in Pakistan train crash
At least 20 people are dead and several injured after two trains collided in Pakistan. More than 1000 passengers were aboard the two trains when the crash occurred during the morning rush hour. The accident occurred when a train sped into a railway station in the city of Karachi and ploughed into a second train. Trains from Karachi were suspended and an investigation into the crash is under way.
Melania Trump delivers new speech
Melania Trump has made her first speech since she was accused of plagiarising from Michelle Obama at the Republican National Convention earlier this year. Mrs Trump discussed her plan for action as First Lady of the United States, saying she wants to change the culture of social media, which had become “too mean and too harsh”.
“We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work, if i am privileged enough to become your first lady,” she said. Critics were quick to point out that her husband, the Republican candidate Donald Trump, has been characterised as a serial social media bully.
Russia gives rebel fighters last chance to leave Aleppo
Fighting has intensified in Aleppo as rebels attempt to regain control of the western, Syrian-held, quarter of the city. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Syria, has allegedly offered rebels the chance to leave Aleppo unharmed and with their weapons during a 10-hour pause in fighting today, Friday.
The rebels, who distrust Russian and Government intentions, rejected the offer to surrender and stepped up their attacks. Thousands of residents trapped in the city and are experiencing food shortages, continuous bombing and no access to medical facilities.
Hundred of migrants drown off Libyan coast
More than 200 migrants have died after two boats capsized trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy. Survivors were taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Only 12 bodies have been recovered so far. Nearly 330,000 African and Arabic migrants have managed to cross the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year but UN and maritime agencies believe as many as 4,200 people have died in the attempt. Italy has become the favoured entry target since Europe and Turkey reached agreement in March to limit the transit of refugees from the Middle East. – Compiled from web sources by Alicia Camilleri and Sinead Fogarty
Top image captured from BBC News Youtube video.