US

Iraqi troops resume Mosul fight after 2-week lull

  • In this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 file photo, a member of the Iraqi Special Forces shoots his machine gun against an Islamic State militant drone n the al-Barid district in Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi forces sitting for weeks on the edges of Mosul have been bolstered by reinforcements and are now ready, along with the elite special forces, to launch a stepped up, three-pronged assault against Islamic State group militants in the city’s eastern sector, ending a two-week lull in the fighting, a top Iraqi general told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)

    In this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 file photo, a member of the Iraqi Special Forces shoots his machine gun against an Islamic State militant drone n the al-Barid district in Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi forces sitting for weeks on the edges of Mosul have been bolstered by reinforcements and are now ready, along with the elite special forces, to launch a stepped up, three-pronged assault against Islamic State group militants in the city’s eastern sector, ending a two-week lull in the fighting, a top Iraqi general told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi army and special forces commanders gather to discuss battle plans in the eastern section of Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led airstrikes pushed deeper into eastern Mosul on Thursday in a multi-pronged assault after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the Islamic State-held city. (AP Photo/Hamza Hendawi)

    Iraqi army and special forces commanders gather to discuss battle plans in the eastern section of Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led airstrikes pushed deeper into eastern Mosul on Thursday in a multi-pronged assault after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the Islamic State-held city. (AP Photo/Hamza Hendawi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Civilians walk past while Iraqi special forces inspect frontline defenses in the eastern section of Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led airstrikes pushed deeper into eastern Mosul on Thursday in a multi-pronged assault after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the Islamic State-held city. (AP Photo/Hamza Hendawi)

    Civilians walk past while Iraqi special forces inspect frontline defenses in the eastern section of Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led airstrikes pushed deeper into eastern Mosul on Thursday in a multi-pronged assault after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the Islamic State-held city. (AP Photo/Hamza Hendawi)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi troops have pushed deeper into Mosul after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the Islamic State-held city.

Backed by airstrikes, Iraqi special forces, army troops and federal police launched a push on five neighborhoods early Thursday. Smoke rose across the city as explosions and machine gun fire echoed through the streets.

Stiff resistance by the militants, civilians trapped inside their houses and bad weather have slowed advances in the more than two-month-old offensive to recapture Iraq's second largest city, the extremist group's last urban bastion in the country.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, commander of the special forces in eastern Mosul, said his forces have been bolstered by reinforcements.