The operation comes weeks after Iraqi forces recaptured eastern Mosul across the Tigris River. On the first day of the new offensive, Iraqi Federal Police forces said they killed 79 ISIS militants, destroyed weapons facilities and regained control of 10 villages.
The prime minister described the operation as a "new dawn" in the liberation of Mosul, ISIS' last major stronghold in the country.
"Go forward with my blessing, heroic forces of Iraq," he said on state television.
Fears of 'deadly and indiscriminate' deaths