Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati of the Iraqi Army said on Wednesday that his forces had effectively taken control of the eastern side, declaring that “important lines and important areas are finished.” He spoke at a news conference in Bartella, a town east of Mosul.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq, in a statement posted on his Twitter account, extolled what he described as “the efforts of our brave forces” to retake Mosul.
It remains unclear how long it may take to clear the western half, which is characterized by narrow streets that could make the fight against entrenched Islamic State fighters even more treacherous.
The triumphal moment on Wednesday was tempered by growing exasperation in the western city of Falluja, where Iraqi forces and allied militias routed Islamic State fighters more than six months ago. Many neighborhoods were destroyed in that battle, and residents have increasingly complained that much of the city remains uninhabitable.