Mosul battle continues amid heavy resistance
Iraqi forces battled waves of suicide car bombs yesterday as they attempt to advance deeper into Mosul in the face of heavy resistance from the Islamic State (IS) group.
Troops were converging from several fronts on the city, Iraq's second-largest and the extremists' last major holdout in the country.
The special forces have advanced the furthest so far and hold a handful of urban districts.
Officers say they have cleared the areas of Qadisiya and Zahra, and are planning to advance further.
Over the past week they have inched forward slowly, trying to avoid casualties among their troops and civilians as suicide bombers in armour-plated vehicles rush forward from hiding spots among densely-populated areas.
"The only weapons they have left are car bombs and explosives," said Iraqi special forces Major General Sami al-Aridi.
"There are so many civilian cars and any one of them could be a bomb."
Several suicide car bombers attacked in the same area on Saturday, injuring around a dozen troops, three civilians and killing a child, officers said.
The troops are building road blocks to prevent car bombs from breaching the front lines.
Since last week's quick advance into Mosul proper, they have struggled to hold territory under heavy IS counter-attacks.