Iraq says half of western Mosul retaken from Islamic State

Iraq says it has driven the Islamic State group out of more than half of western Mosul nearly a month after launching an operation to seize the remainder of the city from the extremists.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, a military spokesman, told The Associated Press on Thursday that U.S.-backed Iraqi troops have recaptured up to 60 percent of the city's western half, with the fighting still underway. Iraq declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" in January.

Commanders on the ground are less upbeat, saying the front lines have moved only a few hundred meters (yards) over the past week, as the militants have deployed car bombs against the advancing troops.

Iraq launched a massive operation in October to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city, which fell to IS in 2014.