Iraqi forces advance to north in Mosul battle
Iraqi special forces pushed deeper into Isil-held districts in eastern Mosul and army units fought the insurgents inside a military base in the city's north, officials said yesterday.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the military had begun "movement" against Isil in the west of Mosul without specifying what action was being taken there.
Three months after the start of the US-backed campaign, Isil has been driven out of about three-quarters of the eastern districts of its Iraqi stronghold. Renewed military progress has been made in the last two weeks, thanks to improved tactics and co-ordination between different units, US and Iraqi military officials said.
Advances slowed towards the end of last year as the military tried to avoid hitting civilians, they said, but now the capture of the entire east bank is imminent and will allow attacks in the city's west, still fully held by the militants.
Rapid response units of the Iraqi federal police have secured many south-eastern districts along the Tigris.
Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service holds large sections of the east bank further north from where the federal police operate.
Meanwhile, a car bomb blast in southern Baghdad yesterday killed at least seven people in a mostly Shi'ite Muslim area. There was no immediate claim for the bombing.