Three Iraqi soldiers were killed on Monday as government forces pushed to dislodge ISIL militants from the Old City in western Mosul, according to a local police officer.
Iraqi forces were facing difficulty in storming the Bab al-Tob area of the Old City, where the fight is expected to be tough due to its narrow alleyways through which armored vehicles cannot pass.
Federal police officer Huzayfa al-Haj said ISIL attacks have forced Iraqi troops to retreat to the main government complex in western Mosul.
“Iraqi forces are waiting for military reinforcements and air support for continuing the fight against ISIL,” he told Anadolu Agency.
According to al-Haj, three soldiers were killed and four others injured in ISIL attacks in the area.
No information was available about ISIL losses in the fight.
On Monday, Joint Operations Command spokesman Brigadier-General Yahya Rasoul said Iraqi forces controlled nearly two-thirds of western Mosul.
"Our forces have seized control of 65 percent of western Mosul,” he told Anadolu Agency.
In mid-February, Iraqi forces -- backed by a U.S.-led air coalition -- began fresh operations aimed at dislodging ISIL extremists from western Mosul.
The offensive comes as part of a wider campaign launched last October to retake the city, which ISIL overran -- along with much of northern and western Iraq -- in mid-2014.