Iraqi troops say recapture Nimrud, site of Assyrian city
Iraqi soldiers have captured Nimrud, the site of an ancient Assyrian city overrun by Islamic State militants two years ago, a military statement said.
"Troops from the Ninth Armoured Division liberated Nimrud town completely and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings," the statement said. The town of Nimrud lies 1 km west of the ruins of the 3,000-year-old city.
The soldiers also captured the village of Numaniya, on the edge of the city which was once the capital of an Assyrian empire stretching from Egypt to parts of modern-day Iran and Turkey.
The Iraqi government says Nimrud was bulldozed last year as part of Islamic State's campaign to destroy symbols which the Sunni Muslim zealots consider idolatrous.
Video footage released by Islamic State, purportedly from Nimrud, also showed its fighters destroying relics with electric drills and explosives.
Nimrud lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris river, about 30 km south of Mosul where Iraqi soldiers and special forces are battling Islamic State for control of the largest city under the jihadists' control in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.