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MOSUL, Iraq – An Iraqi commander says special forces troops are progressing through western Mosul and encountering stiff resistance from entrenched Islamic State fighters.
Special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said Saturday that his troops are "moving very slowly" and that IS fighters are responding with car bombs, snipers and dozens of armed drones.
The drones have caused relatively few deaths, but have inflicted dozens of light injuries that have disrupted the pace of ground operations.
Al-Saadi says he expects the pace to increase after Iraqi forces retake territory and infrastructure on Mosul's southwestern edge — which will allow them to shorten supply lines and link up with forces in the city's east.
Iraqi forces declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" in January after officially launching the operation to retake the city in October.