Violence in Iraq continues as Iraqi forces close in on Mosul

Soldiers from the Iraqi Special Forces 2nd Division walk behind their vehicles for cover as they engage Daesh militants while pushing into the Aden neighborhood of Mosul

Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the USA -led worldwide coalition, a senior military commander said.

Almost 200 wounded civilians and military personnel were transferred to hospital last week, the highest level since the campaign to push the jihadists out of their last major stronghold in Iraq began on October 17, said Lise Grande, the United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq.

West of Mosul, the fight to retake Tal Afar from Islamic State continued and Shiite fighters there said they had cut off the route into Syria.

Al-Aridi said his men were searching homes in areas retaken from IS, looking for militants and vehicles rigged with explosives.

The arrival of the troops at the neighborhood's fringes prompted hundreds of civilians to seek safety behind army lines.

After months of preparation, Iraqi army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched an operation on October 17 to retake Mosul from the Daesh terrorists.

Be proactive - Use the "Flag as Inappropriate" link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts. Other forces are advancing on the city from different directions, and the USA -led coalition is providing airstrikes and other support. The city has been held by the jihadists since the summer of 2014.

Mosul is Iraq's second largest city, and its recapture would be a huge blow to IS, a Sunni extremist group that aspires to create a "caliphate" stretching across the Middle East. The officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media. "We are working as quickly as we can and in close coordination with Iraqi authorities to help some of the most at-risk people in the world". Four civilians were killed and four others were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

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