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Iraqi forces push to 'within 15km of south side of Mosul'

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By Euronews  with REUTERS, AFP
Iraqi forces push to 'within 15km of south side of Mosul'

<p>Efforts by Iraqi troops to break the siege in Mosul are seeing some success, the Army says.</p> <p>Security forces say they have driven <span class="caps">ISIL</span> from the centre of Hammam al-Alil, a town some 15 kilometres south of the jihadists’ last major stronghold in Iraq.</p> <p>According to a senior commander, they overcame <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2016/11/04/iraqi-forces-met-with-unexpectedly-strong-opposition-from-isil-in-fight-for">strong opposition</a> to retake the town and are now within a few kilometres of a strategic airport on the edge of Mosul.</p> <p>Iraqi forces have not confirmed whether <span class="caps">ISIL</span> has been completely pushed out from the town, which lies on the Tigris river.</p> <p>Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is said to have visited the eastern outskirts of Mosul, where troops have also been pushing forward.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gke2xtLN_P8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>The advance has been hampered by <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/news/battle-mosul-know-142056038.html">fiercer resistance than expected</a> in some areas and by reports the Islamist militants are using local citizens as human shields.</p> <p>Over a million civilians are believed to remain in the city. Others have managed to flee to refugee camps set up by aid agencies.</p> <p>Mosul is the largest city under <span class="caps">ISIL</span> control in both the country and neighbouring Syria. Its recapture would crush the Iraqi half of <span class="caps">ISIL</span>’s self-proclaimed caliphate across the two nations.</p>