Iraqi army recaptures ancient city of Nimrud from Isis

Government forces are now in the Assyrian capital for the first time in two years

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Iraqi government forces have recaptured the ancient city of Nimrud from Isis, the military spokesman has said. 

In a statement he said: “Troops from the Ninth Armoured Division liberated Nimrud town completely and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings.”

The modern city lies just 1km from the ruins of the ancient Assyrian capital.

Soldiers also captured the village of Numaniya which is on the edge of the ancient city which was the centre of the empire which ruled territory from modern-day Turkey to modern-day Egypt at its height.

Iraqi government said Nimrud was bulldozed last year as part of Isis’s campaign to rid its territory of pre-Islamic symbols.

Video footage released by Isis, purportedly from Nimrud, showed its fighters destroying relics with electric drills and explosives.

Similar destruction was seen in the ancient Roman city of Palmyra in Syria after it was recaptured from the jihadists in March.

It is the latest loss for the terror group as the Iraqi army continues to push it back towards the Syrian border. 

Nimrud lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris river, about 30 km (20 miles) south of Mosul.

The battle for Iraq’s second city has raged for weeks as Isis attempt to defend their positions with up to a million civilians at risk of being displaced by the fighting.

Saturday saw “intense” fighting between the army and Isis forces as the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) special forces have pushed the jihadis back from some Mosul neighbourhoods.

Additional reporting by agencies