Iraqi Commander: Troops push further into western Mosul

The terrorist organization is trying to hold onto its last major urban stronghold in Iraq.

Daesh militants overran Mosul in June 2014. The federal police seized the town of Albu Saif, which overlooks the airport. "The Iraqi forces will have more power attacking from higher ground".

Resistance from ISIS fighters continues.

Elsewhere, up to 3,000 people fled from the Mamun area yesterday morning, according to Iraqi special forces Brigadier General Salam Hashed, who oversees a screening centre south of Mosul.

Eyewitnesses also described ISIS fighters seizing civilian vehicles, a pattern the terror group has used in the battle for Mosul.

"We're not able to get into western Mosul, but we can only predict that the situation there remains dire".

Meanwhile, colleagues have paid tribute to a Kurdish journalist who was killed by a road side bomb while she was reporting on the battle to recapture Mosul.

Younis Mustafa, her cameraman, and seven other fighters were injured.

In Iraq, more than a thousand civilians have fled western Mosul as Iraqi troops push deeper into ISIL held areas.

They were taken to a refugee camp and to al-Qayyara airfield south of Mosul, he said.

Separately, counter-terrorism forces were advancing on two directions towards Wadi Hajr and Mamoun districts, said Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi, a senior commander.

Iraq declared the city's eastern half "fully liberated" in January, three months after launching the massive operation to retake the city.

However, it had become harder for them to call Alghad FM because of the worsening conditions, he said.

The International Rescue Committee warned Friday that this second stage of the Mosul operation could be the "most unsafe phase" for civilians as Iraqi troops seek to secure densely populated areas amid ISIS resistance. Delivered at 11 a.m. Monday-Friday. Despite the hardships, many people are choosing to stay in their homes, making it challenging for humanitarian groups to give them aid.

"Everything must be done to keep civilians out of the firing line, and as Iraqi forces reach individual neighborhoods, people must be given the opportunity to escape the city safely". "When the security forces came, they yelled to us so we fled to them", said civilian Mahmoud Nawwaf.

The U.N. refugee agency has said it is focusing its efforts on building new camps to house the displaced.

US -backed Iraqi forces pushed into western Mosul on Friday after retaking the city's airport from the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), as aid agencies warned the most unsafe phase of the offensive was about to begin for hundreds of thousands of civilians.

More than 50 ISIS militants were killed and scores wounded in Friday's operation, Jaudat said.

Together these two strategic locations will act as a base for the Iraqi forces as they continue the latest, and potentially decisive, phase of driving ISIS out of Mosul.

CNN's Kareem Khadder and Ingrid Formanek reported from Irbil, while Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London.

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