MOSUL, Iraq, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Thursday began a new push against Islamic State (IS) militants in several neighborhoods in the Iraqi city of Mosul, a military source said.
The move came after the troops' advance had been stalled in the past two weeks.
Members of the Counter-Terrorism Service, army troops and federal police advanced in the morning from several directions to free the remaining neighborhoods in the eastern side of Mosul, known locally as the left bank of the Tigris, which bisects the city, Maj. Gen. Najim al-Jobouri said in a statement.
The battles included opening a new front with thousands of federal police forces advanced to the southern outskirts of Mosul, Jubouri said.
The battles in Mosul were slowed in the past two weeks amid grueling fighting inside Mosul with extremist militants, who used the city's civilians as human shields, carried out brutal counter attacks in small groups moving quickly throughout the districts, and resorted to suicide car bombs, in addition to mortar and sniper attacks.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 17 announced a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.
Since then, Iraqi security forces, backed by international coalition forces, have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul and made progress on other routes around the city.
Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.