Middle East

Wave of IS car bombs targets Iraqi troops in west Mosul

  • Soldiers stand guard as displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for a security check at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammed Numan)

    Soldiers stand guard as displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for a security check at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammed Numan)  (The Associated Press)

  • A local informer, center left, with his face concealed, helps to identify and arrest Islamic State militants hiding amongst displaced Iraqis, at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammed Numan)

    A local informer, center left, with his face concealed, helps to identify and arrest Islamic State militants hiding amongst displaced Iraqis, at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammed Numan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for security check at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammed Numan)

    Displaced men who fled their homes due to fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State militants wait for security check at an Iraqi Army base, west of Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammed Numan)  (The Associated Press)

An Iraqi commander says troops are moving toward the local government complex in Mosul's Islamic State-held western side amid the "heaviest" clashes since the start of the new push more than two weeks ago.

Maj. Gen. Haider al-Maturi of the Federal Police Commandos Division told The Associated Press that IS militants dispatched at least six suicide car bombs, which all were destroyed before reaching the troops. He added that the militants are moving from house to house and deploying snipers.

Al-Maturi said his troops launched a fresh offensive early Sunday morning in the Dawasa neighborhood, adding they are about 500 meters away from the government complex.

He Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV aired live footage showing thick black smoke almost covering the sky amid a heavy exchange of fire.