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Iraqi Forces Launch New Mosul Offensive

Iraqi Army personnel reload ammunition during clashes with Islamic State militants north of Mosul on December 29.

Iraqi forces have launched the second phase of an offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the extremist group Islamic State (IS), military officials say.

A statement by the U.S.-led coalition said the offensive, launched on December 29, opened two new fronts in eastern Mosul, increasing pressure on the militants' "dwindling ability to generate forces, move fighters, or resupply."

The commander of the special forces in eastern Mosul, Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, told AP that the offensive was launched after his troops had been bolstered by reinforcements.

The campaign to liberate Mosul is the biggest military operation in Iraq since U.S. troops left in 2011.

The offensive is being carried out by Iraqi government forces together with Sunni tribesmen, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and Shi’ite militia groups and backed by U.S.-led coalition air strikes.

IS captured Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in the summer of 2014.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said earlier this week it would take three more months to remove IS from Mosul and the rest of the country.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters