Iraqi troops take 2 neighborhoods in Mosul

Updated at: 12/02/2016 11:26 AM

Photo: AP

(AP) BAGHDAD - BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi special forces fighting Islamic State militants in the northern city of Mosul seized a new neighborhood on Friday and took full control of a densely populated neighborhood, according to an Iraqi field commander.

Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Tamimi of the special forces told The Associated Press his men were now in full control of the Zohour neighborhood, more than a week after they first entered the district.

He said his men also captured the neighborhood of Qadissiyah-2, bringing to 23 the number of neighborhoods retaken by the special forces in the eastern sector of the city since the campaign to retake Mosul began on Oct. 17.

There has been some discrepancy over the exact number of neighborhoods retaken from IS thus far, something that Iraqi commanders explain as a possible result of the use of different maps of the city or the exceptionally small size of some neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, for example, Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the special forces said his men were in control of 19 neighborhoods, which constituted less than 30 percent of the part of the city east of the Tigris River.

Most of the fighting in Mosul has been taking place in the city's eastern sector, where Iraq's special forces are making slow progress because of fears over the safety of civilians still inside the city and spirited IS resistance.

The campaign to retake Mosul is being launched on a multitude of fronts, with forces from the army, federal police and Sunni tribal militias deployed to the north and south of the city. State-sanctioned militias are holding territory to the west of Mosul, but are not expected to enter the mostly Sunni city.

Iraq's second largest city, Mosul was captured by IS in 2014 when the militants swept across much of Iraq's north and west. The city is the largest urban center in Iraq still held by IS.

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