MOSUL, Iraq, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Wednesday fought heavy clashes with Islamic State (IS) militant group in the western side of Mosul, while other forces continued advancing in rural areas in the west of the city, the Iraqi military said.
Federal police and interior ministry special forces, known as Rapid Response, carried out clearing operation in the buildings and streets of the recently-freed neighborhoods of Jawsaq and Tayaran in the southern outskirts of Mosul, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.
During the day, the clashes left 15 IS militants and a sniper killed and destroyed four booby-trapped buildings, two car bombs and a bomb-making site, according to the statement.
The clearing operation came as the troops recaptured the neighborhood of Jawsaq and secured the foot of its strategic bridge across Tigris, locally known as 4th Bridge, bringing the troops at the edges of the old neighborhood of Dawassa, where some of main government buildings located.
The commandos of the Counter-Terrorism Serves (CTS) continued progress in the neighborhood of Wadi Hajar in the city's southern outskirts and managed to seize 70 percent of the neighborhood amid fierce clashes with IS militants, the statement said.
CTS special forces also completely cleared the residential buildings of Mamoun neighborhood, while conducted initial progress in the adjacent Mansour neighborhood, leaving some 40 IS militants killed.
Outside the city, the army's 9th Division and Shiite paramilitary Hashd Shaabi unit are advancing through an open desert in the west of Mosul.
The operations in the west of Mosul were aimed at severing the road between western Mosul and the IS-held town of Tal Afar to prevent the extremist militants from resupplying or retreating as they come under pressure from Iraqi forces advancing from the south.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive on Feb. 19 to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.
Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul, or the left bank of Tigris, after more than 100 days of fighting against IS militants.