Middle East

Battling IS, Iraq troops reach bank of Tigris River in Mosul

  • Smoke rises during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Smoke rises during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi Army soldiers inspect a suicide car bomb in a neighborhood recently liberated from Islamic State militants on the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraqi Army soldiers inspect a suicide car bomb in a neighborhood recently liberated from Islamic State militants on the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Smoke rises as Iraqi federal police detonate unexploded bombs set by Islamic State militants in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Smoke rises as Iraqi federal police detonate unexploded bombs set by Islamic State militants in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

A senior Iraqi military commander says special forces battling the Islamic State group in Mosul have reached the Tigris River, pushing deeper in the eastern part of the militant-held city.

Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir Rasheed Yar Allah said in a statement late Sunday that it's the first time the Iraqi forces have made it to the riverbank since the military operation began in mid-October. The operation, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, has also taken out all five bridges over the Tigris in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city

He says troops now control the area and the eastern bank of one of the bridges.

Fighting resumed last month after a two-week lull due to stiff IS resistance and bad weather. Since then, Iraqi forces have recaptured new areas in the city's eastern half.