Iraqi troops advance in eastern Mosul amid fierce clashes

A senior Iraqi commander says fierce clashes between special forces and Islamic State militants are taking place in two neighborhoods in eastern Mosul.

The head of Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces, Gen. Abdel Ghani al-Asadi, told Iraqi state TV on Monday that his forces pushed deeper into the Shurta and Andalus neighborhoods. Al-Asadi described the streets as "clean" of the bombs that IS militants usually plant to derail the troops' movement.

Since early morning, Iraqiya TV has aired a live feed from the front lines, showing thick grey smoke rising and Humvees passing by burnt-out buildings as explosions and gunfire rattled. The camera also showed the five-star Ninevah International Hotel from a distance, one of the city's iconic buildings located in a nearby neighborhood.