US

Iraq says Islamic State has lost most of the land it seized

  • An Iraqi special forces lieutenant takes a selfie with the plume from an airstrike, during heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

    An Iraqi special forces lieutenant takes a selfie with the plume from an airstrike, during heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Iraqi special forces soldier moves through a hole in a wall during heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

    An Iraqi special forces soldier moves through a hole in a wall during heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi women flee heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

    Iraqi women flee heavy fighting in the Yarmouk district of western Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)  (The Associated Press)

The Iraqi military says the Islamic State group has lost more than three-fourths of the territory it seized when it swept across the country in the summer of 2014.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, a military spokesman, says the extremist group currently controls less than 30,000 square kilometers (12,000 sq. miles) in Iraq, or 6.8 percent of the country's territory, down from more than 40 percent at its height.

The extremists have suffered a string of defeats over the past year in both Iraq and Syria, and were driven out of the eastern half of Mosul, Iraq's largest city, in January.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are currently battling the militants in the more densely populated western Mosul. Rasool says more than half of western Mosul has been retaken from the militants.