Iraqi Troops Secure Foothold in Mosul

Iraqi Troops Secure Foothold in MosulIraqi Troops Secure Foothold in Mosul

Iraqi forces are securing their foothold in the city of Mosul, moving from house to house to clear areas held by the self-styled Islamic State terrorists.

Soldiers and special forces paused their advance on Wednesday, a day after pushing into the eastern outskirts.

A BBC journalist says they are moving with caution, amid fears of ambushes, secret tunnels and booby traps. Meanwhile, an aid agency has warned that the lives of civilians in Mosul are "in grave danger".

Wolfgang Gressmann of the Norwegian Refugee Council said its staff were "now bracing ... for the worst", as the battle for the city intensified.

"The lives of 1.2 million civilians are in grave danger and the future of all of Iraq is now in the balance," he added.

Elite Counter-Terrorism Service troops retook the eastern Kukjali area and reached the more built-up Karama District, on Tuesday, having entered the city for the first time since it was overrun by IS in June 2014.

Those militants who chose to stand and fight were killed while others fled deeper into the city. The Iraqi military said units from the army's ninth armored division and first division had also entered the Judaydat al-Mufti district, to the southeast, after capturing several outlying villages.

On Wednesday, a senior CTS officer, Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil, told AP that they had paused their advance because poor weather was hampering visibility. They are also waiting for reinforcements before attempting to push into the city center.

For now, troops are now moving from house to house, making the ground secure for the civilians who are still there, he adds.

Families who spoke to the BBC said they had been living in a state of fear under IS. For the women, in particular, there was a tentative sense of relief.

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