Middle East

Iraq troops pause in advance on Mosul

  • An Iraqi girl, who was displaced by fighting in Mosul, looks out of her window at a camp for internally displaced people, in Hassan Sham, east of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. The United Nations says over 34,000 people have been displaced from Mosul, with about three quarters settled in camps and the rest in host communities. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    An Iraqi girl, who was displaced by fighting in Mosul, looks out of her window at a camp for internally displaced people, in Hassan Sham, east of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. The United Nations says over 34,000 people have been displaced from Mosul, with about three quarters settled in camps and the rest in host communities. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)  (The Associated Press)

  • Firefighters work at the site of an oil well fire in Qayara, some 31 miles (50 km) south of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Iraqi firefighters worked to extinguish flaming oil wells, set alight by Islamic State militants to reduce visibility. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    Firefighters work at the site of an oil well fire in Qayara, some 31 miles (50 km) south of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Iraqi firefighters worked to extinguish flaming oil wells, set alight by Islamic State militants to reduce visibility. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Iraqi who was displaced by fighting in Mosul smokes in his window, at a camp for internally displaced people in Hassan Sham, east of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. The United Nations says over 34,000 people have been displaced from Mosul, with about three quarters settled in camps and the rest in host communities. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    An Iraqi who was displaced by fighting in Mosul smokes in his window, at a camp for internally displaced people in Hassan Sham, east of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. The United Nations says over 34,000 people have been displaced from Mosul, with about three quarters settled in camps and the rest in host communities. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi troops are consolidating gains in their advance on the northern city of Mosul, regrouping as they clear neighborhoods and houses once occupied by the Islamic State group.

In Mosul proper, where troops have established a foothold in a sliver of territory in the city's east, officials say Thursday that the special forces have taken control of the Zahra neighborhood, once named after former dictator Saddam Hussein.

The regular army's ninth division is stationed in east Mosul's Intisar neighborhood, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief reporters.

Brig. Firas Bashar, spokesman for Nineveh operations command, says troops south of Mosul have been stopped at the town of Hamam al-Alil while other forces push forward on the city.