Anti-ISIS forces are continuing their advance into Mosul as jihadists struggle to keep their last stronghold in Iraq.
(BAGHDAD/ERBIL, IRAQ) Iraqi forces fought their way into more districts of Mosul but advances in the city's southeast were being slowed by Islamic State's use of civilians for cover, military officials said on Tuesday.
The United Nations said civilian casualties had streamed into nearby hospitals in the last two weeks as fighting intensified in the jihadist group's last major stronghold in Iraq.
Advances by elite forces in the city's east and northeast have picked up speed in a new push since the turn of the year, and U.S.-backed forces have for the first time reached the Tigris river, which bisects the city.
"They entered Hadba (district) today. There is a battle inside the city," Lt-Colonel Abbas al-Azawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi army's 16th division, said.
Seizing control of Hadba, a large district, would likely take more than a day, and Islamic State (IS) were deploying suicide bombers, he added.