US

Iraqi forces push into Mosul's main military base by airport

  • Smoke rises from the western side of Mosul following a U.S.-led coalition airstrike, in Abu Saif, outside the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

    Smoke rises from the western side of Mosul following a U.S.-led coalition airstrike, in Abu Saif, outside the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi Federal police deploy after regaining control of the town of Abu Saif, west of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Iraq's government-sanctioned paramilitary forces, made up mainly of Shiite militiamen, have launched a new push to capture villages west of the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Iraqi Federal police deploy after regaining control of the town of Abu Saif, west of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Iraq's government-sanctioned paramilitary forces, made up mainly of Shiite militiamen, have launched a new push to capture villages west of the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • A sniper with the Iraqi federal police aims at an Islamic State position from the rooftop of a house in the town of Abu Saif, Wednesday Feb. 22, 2017. The battle for Mosul, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, has already driven the militants from the eastern half of the city, which is divided roughly in half by the Tigris River. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

    A sniper with the Iraqi federal police aims at an Islamic State position from the rooftop of a house in the town of Abu Saif, Wednesday Feb. 22, 2017. The battle for Mosul, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, has already driven the militants from the eastern half of the city, which is divided roughly in half by the Tigris River. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's special forces say they have begun an assault against the Islamic State group on a sprawling military base south of Mosul that's adjacent to the city's airport.

Two Iraqi special forces officers say their troops have reached the Ghazlani base on the city's southern edge on Thursday morning and that clashes there are underway.

A federal police officer says his forces are also pushing toward the Mosul airport. All officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters.

The advances come days after Iraqi forces officially launched the operation to push IS out of Mosul's western half.

The operation to retake Iraq's second largest city was officially launched in October and in January its eastern half was declared "fully liberated."