Iraq announced on Tuesday that its forces have retaken the provincial government headquarters and a second bridgehead from the Islamic State group in west Mosul.
The operation to retake west Mosul
The operation to retake west Mosul -- the Islamic State's largest remaining urban stronghold -- was launched on February 19, but the advance had slowed in the face of several days of bad weather until a renewed push began on Sunday.
In this file photo, Iraqi security officers place a suspected Islamic State group member into the back of a waiting pickup truck, in east Mosul. All photographs: AP/PTI
Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province
"The heroes of the federal police and Rapid Response liberate the government building for Nineveh province and control the second bridge (Al-Hurriyah Bridge)," the joint operations command said told AFP. Mosul, Iraq's second city, is the capital of Nineveh province.
Iraqi security forces launch a rocket against Islamic State militants positions during clashes in the western side of Mosul, Iraq.
Providing a link
The city is divided by the Tigris River, and while bridges crossing it have been either damaged or destroyed, they would provide a link between the government-held east and IS-held west if they can be repaired or otherwise bridged, according to AFP.
Iraqi security forces advance during fighting against Islamic State militants on the western side of Mosul, Iraq.
Regaining the ground
The fighting in west Mosul has forced more than 50,000 people to flee, the International Organisation for Migration said. IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes and other support have since regained most of the ground they lost.
Smoke rises after an airstrike by US-led coalition warplanes during fighting between Iraqi special forces and Islamic State militants, on the western side of Mosul, Iraq.