MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Sunday extended their grip in the city of Mosul after intense fighting with Islamic State (IS) group in the fourth day of a renewed push to retake control of the eastern part of the city, the Iraqi military said.
The heaviest clashes took place in southeastern the city as the federal police and soldiers of the 9th Armored Division fought fierce clashes with IS militants and managed to push into neighborhoods of Yafa and Younis al-Sab'awi, in addition to recapturing the vital street of Siteen, a statement by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said.
The troops also continued their battles in the three nearby neighborhoods of al-Entisar, al-Salam and al-Shaimaa and recaptured several buildings, the statement said.
For the fourth day of heavy clashes, the troops made limited progress inside the three neighborhoods, which already were battleground of fierce clashes between the troops and IS militants in the past weeks.
During the day, IS militants carried out counter-attacks against the troops in southeastern Mosul, but the troops repelled their attacks, leaving some 182 militants killed and destroying three booby-trapped vehicles, according to the statement.
In the eastern front of the city, members of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) continued their slow advance and managed to recapture part of al-Karama neighborhood amid heavy clashes with the militants, the statement said.
The CTS troops, backed by U.S.-led coalition aircraft, fought back an IS counter-attack during the day, leaving 70 IS militants killed and destroying two booby-trapped cars and one vehicle carrying heavy machine gun, according to the statement.
In northern front, the soldiers of the army's 16th Division repelled another attack by the extremist militants, leaving 25 militants killed and destroying three of their vehicles, the statement said.
The battles in Mosul came as the elite CTS forces, army troops and federal police launched on Thursday morning the second phase of a major offensive to free Mosul, and the troops made their new push into several neighborhoods in the eastern side of Mosul, locally known as the left bank of the Tigris which bisects the city.
For the fourth day of a new push to free the remaining neighborhoods of the eastern bank of the city, the troops are facing stiff resistance by the extremist militants.
The elite CTS forces have pushed in eastern Mosul since late October, but regular army and federal police forces tasked with advancing from north and south made slower advance and failed, so far, to reunite with the CTS troops inside the city.
Also in the day, dozens of IS militants attacked the federal police positions in the villages of Adhba and Bakhira, a few kilometers southwest of Mosul, but the troops repelled the attack, killing 25 of the attackers and destroying three explosive-laden cars, it added.
In the past few weeks, the battles in Mosul were slowed 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.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a recent report that the military operations in Mosul, have pushed some 118,000 civilians to flee their homes in the city and its adjacent districts since the beginning of military offensive in October to reclaim the IS largest stronghold in Iraq.
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.