Iraqi troops capture largest neighbourhood in western Mosul
Iraqi troops on Tuesday drove out Islamic State militants from the largest neighbourhood in the western half of the city of Mosul, a senior military commander said, a major development in the months-long fight to recapture the country's second-largest city. US-backed Iraqi forces declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" in January, after officially launching the operation to retake the city in October. In February, the troops started a new push to clear Mosul's western side of IS militants, but weeks later their push stalled mainly due to stiff resistance by the Sunni militant group.
On Tuesday, special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi told The Associated Press that the sprawling al-Tanek neighbourhood was now "fully liberated and under full control" of the security forces. Al-Saadi did not provide more details. To the east of al-Tanek, Iraqi forces have been facing tough resistance from IS in Mosul's Old City, an area that stretches along the Tigris River, which divides Mosul into its eastern and western half. The Old City's narrow alleys and densely populated areas have made it hard for troops to move forward. Mosul fell to IS in the summer of 2014.