GLOBAL ECONOMY

Iraqi forces push on against IS in eastern Mosul

  • An Iraqi special forces soldier, right, asks Iraqi men to remove their jackets to check that they don't carry any explosive belts, as they arrive to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    An Iraqi special forces soldier, right, asks Iraqi men to remove their jackets to check that they don't carry any explosive belts, as they arrive to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi citizens que to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Iraqi citizens que to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Iraqi man opens his jacket and and raises his hands to show the army that he's not wearing an explosive belt, as he arrives to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    An Iraqi man opens his jacket and and raises his hands to show the army that he's not wearing an explosive belt, as he arrives to receive food supplies, at al-Arbajiyeh neighborhood, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. Iraqi troops faced stiff resistance Saturday from Islamic State militants as they pushed deeper into eastern Mosul, backed by aerial support from the U.S.-led international coalition, a senior military commander said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

An Iraqi commander says troops are advancing toward to the center of Mosul, pushing back Islamic State fighters, but are hindered by sniper fire and suicide bombings as well as concern over the safety of civilians.

Maj.Gen. Sami al-Aridi tells The Associated Press Sunday that his special forces are searching homes in areas captured from IS, looking for militants and vehicles rigged to be used in suicide bombings.

Also Sunday, the troops laid siege to the Al-Zohour neighborhood in the eastern section of Mosul.

The arrival of the troops at the neighborhood's fringes prompted hundreds of civilians to seek safety behind army lines.

The Iraqi military last month began the campaign to liberate Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and the last major urban center in Iraq held by the militants.