Iraqi Forces Gain Foothold at Edge of Mosul Medical Complex

FILE - In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017 file photo, smoke rises during heavy fighting between Islamic State militants and Iraqi special forces in the industrial area of west Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)
FILE - In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017 file photo, smoke rises during heavy fighting between Islamic State militants and Iraqi special forces in the industrial area of west Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

MOSUL, Iraq — U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have pushed toward a medical complex in western Mosul, trying to dislodge Islamic State militants from two neighborhoods they still partly hold outside the Old City.

Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Azzawi of the Iraqi army's 36th Brigade told The Associated Press on Monday that his forces had established a foothold at the edge of the medical complex, overcoming heavy resistance.

Smoke rose from artillery shelling and coalition airstrikes pounded the area as Iraqi armored vehicles headed toward the front line.

Iraq launched an operation to retake Mosul, its second largest city, in October. IS militants now only control a handful of neighborhoods in and around the Old City.

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