Middle East

Military: Mosul University fully liberated by Iraqi troops

  • Iraqi special forces fight against Islamic State militants to regain control of Mosul University, in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraqi special forces fight against Islamic State militants to regain control of Mosul University, in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • A soldier with elite counterterrorism forces rides atop of an armoured vehicle celebrating as he holds a flag of the Islamic State group as Iraqi special forces fight against Islamic State militants to regain control of Mosul University, in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    A soldier with elite counterterrorism forces rides atop of an armoured vehicle celebrating as he holds a flag of the Islamic State group as Iraqi special forces fight against Islamic State militants to regain control of Mosul University, in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi special forces advance inside Mosul University grounds, during fighting against Islamic State militants in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraqi special forces advance inside Mosul University grounds, during fighting against Islamic State militants in the eastern side of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

An Iraqi military spokesman says government troops have fully liberated the sprawling complex of Mosul University, a major step in the massive operation to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

The spokesman of the Joint Military Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, declared Sunday that the campus was under the full control of Iraqi special forces, officially known as the Counter Terrorism Service, who raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings.

Iraqi forces entered the university grounds Friday and managed to secure more than half of the campus the next day amid stiff resistance from IS militants, who mainly deployed sniper and mortar fire to slow down the advancing troops.

Sunday's progress is the latest in a string of swift territorial gains in recent weeks by the U.S.-backed Iraqi military.