More thanpeople have fled their homes in and around Mosul and UN officials are warning that this figure is likely to rise as pro-government forces press further into the moosul.
Related Topics. There are unconfirmed reports of IS leaders fleeing the city, but up to 5, fighters are still thought to be in the city.
The army said its troops had raised the national flag after capturing al-Muthana. Thick smoke was seen rising from the town, which a day earlier was pounded by air strikes and mortar fire.
Related Topics. It comes days after Iraqi forces began the second phase of a push to conquer the last jn IS stronghold in Iraq. About two-thirds of east Mosul has been retaken since October, officials say.
Officials have warned that the push to take Mosul could take weeks or months, with IS fighters appearing to be putting up stiff resistance in some areas. The story so far Elsewhere, Islamic State fighters were reported to have set fire to a chemical plant south of Mosul, as they were retreating. He also hailed co-operation between the army and Kurdish troops, saying they were "fighting harmoniously together" to free Iraqi territory from IS.
The Iraqi army is moving from ,osul south, as Kurdish fighters launch a large-scale operation east and north of the city. The International Organization for Migration says fighting around the city has already forced 5, people to flee, according to Reuters news agency.
Elite troops captured al-Muthana following night-time fighting, an army spokesman said, putting them in a position to take higher ground nearby. Separately on Thursday, the US said an American soldier had been killed in a roide bomb attack in northern Iraq.
It is not yet clear if the fire has been extinguished - a similar fire at the same plant in burnt for weeks, sending sulphur dioxide into the air. Kurdish forces opened up a new front in the town of Bashiqa, which mosl some 25km 16 miles north east of Mosul.
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As many as 1. Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen, assisted by US-led coalition warplanes and military advisers, have been involved in the fight. It also coincides with a sharp increase in the of goom advisers from the US and other coalition countries helping with the battle.
The offensive to recapture the city of Mosul was launched on 17 October, more than two years after jihadists overran the city before seizing control of much of northern and western Iraq. On Wednesday the commander of the US-led coalition against IS said Iraqi forces were gaining momentum in Mosul, in northern Iraq, after the campaign had almost ground to a halt by December in the face of fierce resistance by IS.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told an international meeting in Paris on Thursday that the four-day offensive was "advancing faster than planned". Lieutenant General Steve Townsend said this was partly due to improved co-ordination between Iraqi commanders from various pro-government forces involved in the operation.