Iraqi army says advances in Mosul, despite suicide bombers
Iraqi special forces backed by U.S. and Iraqi air power took control of two districts of eastern Mosul on Saturday after heavy fighting in which they destroyed at least 10 cars deployed by Islamic State as suicide bombs, the military said, Reuters reported.
Infantry and armored division troops also advanced in a nearby neighborhood, destroying three rocket launchers and killing 30 militants, it said in a statement.
Iraqi troops have been fighting for 10 days inside eastern Mosul, trying to expand their small foothold in the city which Islamic State has controlled since mid-2014, when its leader declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria.
The nearly four-week campaign to drive Islamic State out of the biggest city under its control in either country has brought together an alliance of 100,000 Iraqi fighters, also backed by thousands of Western personnel on the ground.
They have faced fierce resistance from a few thousand militants who have deployed hundreds of suicide car bombers and waves of attacks by snipers, assault fighters and rocket teams.
Lieutenant-General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi of the Counter Terrorism Service said his forces had completely taken over al-Arbajiya district and were halfway through clearing the adjacent al-Qadisiya al-Thaniya.
"We destroyed more than 10 suicide car bombs and killed snipers and weapons teams," Saidi told Iraqi television. "The clearing is continuing and in the coming hours, God willing, this quarter will be completely cleared."