MOSUL, Iraq, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces on Wednesday retook control of two more neighborhoods from Islamic State (IS) militants in the old city in the western side of Mosul, the Iraqi military said.
The army's 16th Infantry Division liberated the neighborhoods of Hadrat al-Saada and al-Ahmadiyah in the northwestern part of Mosul's old city center, and they raised the Iraqi flag on some of its buildings, Abdul-Amir Yarallah from the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.
Late on Tuesday, another JOC statement said that until the evening of June 27, the troops liberated some 50 percent of the old city in the western side of Mosul.
The statement named many neighborhoods and commercial areas inside the old city still under the control of the extremist IS militants, including al-Farouq al-Thaniyah, Raas al-Kour, al-Maidan, Bab al-Jadid, Bab al-Toub and Sarijkhanah, along with other areas.
The CTS forces, federal police and the interior ministry's special forces, known as Rapid Response, have also been fighting inside the old city, but the troops are making slow progress due to the stiff resistance of IS militants and a large number of roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings, in addition to IS snipers who took positions in the buildings and narrow alleys of heavily-populated neighborhoods.
According to recent UN reports, some 100,000 civilians are still trapped in the IS-held areas in the old city center and the adjacent al-Shifaa neighborhood. The extremist group is using the civilians as human shields.
Mosul, 400 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.