Iraqi military says troops consolidate gains south of Mosul

A military spokesman says Iraqi forces are consolidating their gains south of Mosul ahead of moving deeper into the city's Islamic State-held western half.

The spokesman of the Joint Military Operation Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that nearly 123 square kilometers — about 47 square miles — have been taken south of Mosul since the new push started on Sunday.

Rasool wouldn't say when the next move into the city would start.

He says the troops now fully control the hill of Abu Saif overlooking the Mosul airport as well as the Hamam al-Alil intersection on the main highway into the city.

The battle for Mosul, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, has already driven the militants from the eastern half of the city.