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Feb 24, 2:16 AM EST

Officials: Iraqi forces have secured half of Mosul airport


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BAGHDAD (AP) -- Two Iraqi officials say that after a day of fierce fighting, Iraqi forces have secured half of Mosul's airport and most of a sprawling military base next to it on the city's southwestern edge.

A federal police officer and an official overseeing the operation said on Friday that troops also secured key infrastructure as they advance to rout the Islamic State group from western Mosul.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Iraq's federal police, special forces and the army are taking part in the battle, which started Sunday.

Iraqi authorities declared Mosul's eastern half "fully liberated" in January and afterward largely paused operations to prepare for the fight for the city's west.

The United Nations estimated that about 750,000 civilians are trapped in western Mosul.

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