2nd gas attack on Iraq troops in as many days

Islamic State has not responded to the charge.

- March 12: More than a third of the city's western side has now been retaken, a top military official says.

However, the western part of Mosul, with its narrow streets and heavily populated neighborhoods, appears to be a bigger challenge to the Iraqi forces.

While coalition forces have been reporting on their military advances, civilian casualties have been piling up - both at the hands of terrorists and sometimes as a result of indiscriminate shelling by the US-led coalition.

In February, Iraqi ground forces - backed by a USA -led air coalition - began fresh operations aimed at ousting Daesh from western Mosul, the terrorist group's last bastion in northern Iraq.

The U.S. President Trump stated he intends to reside more power with the Pentagon and American commanders in regards to operational decision-making raising concerns as to whether Trump is carrying out sufficient oversight in these highly sensitive matters.

IS fighters captured Mosul in 2014 as they gained wide swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria in battles against government troops.

The extremists were driven out of the eastern half of Mosul, the country's second-largest city, in January.

Some 400,000 people are trapped in the area and more than 300,000 have fled fighting since the operation started in October, officials say.

"The Daesh terrorist gangs tried to block the advance of our forces by using shells filled with toxic chemical material, but the effect was limited", Iraq's Joint Operations Command said in a statement, referring to Saturday's incident on their Facebook page.

Troops have had the centuries-old mosque with its leaning minaret in their sights since last month.

"The bombs used by the Iraqi air force in Mosul are laser-guided and used when we ascertain the nature of the target", Hammah said, Baghdad Post reported.

The UN said last month that 12 people, including women and children, had been treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons agents in Mosul.

The military is now involved in an offensive in the more densely-populated western Mosul where more than half of the area has been retaken.

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