BAGHDAD, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi Joint Operations Command on Friday denied reports about the security forces pausing their advance toward the city of Mosul to drive out the Islamic State (IS) group from its last major stronghold in Iraq.
"There is no suspension for the military operations to liberate Mosul, but there is re-organization and re-deployment for the military units after freeing dozens of villages and towns," Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said in a statement.
The counter-terrorism forces have fulfilled their part of the stage of advancing toward the eastern edges of Mosul, and are waiting for other troops in north and south of the city still fighting to advance to their positions, Rasoul said referring to that the stop of progress in eastern Mosul doesn't mean pause for the battles.
Earlier in the day, media reports said that Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, told reporters at Pentagon the Iraqi forces have paused their advance toward Mosul to clear IS supporters and booby traps.
"We expected that there would be instances where they needed to pause and reposition forces," the reports quoted Dorrian as saying.
"The Iraqis have made the determination that now is the time to do that, and we've continued to conduct strikes in support of them, to go against tunnels, the command and control network for Daesh," Dorrian said.
On Oct. 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city.
So far, the Iraqi security forces have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul, and made progress on other routes around the city preparing for the major battle to storm the city and drive out the IS militants.
Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled.