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Airstrikes hit Islamic State positions as Mosul battle rages

Iraqi special forces are about 1km from Mosul's eastern edge. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Airstrikes are being used in the battle to take Mosul from so-called Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq, as soldiers try to breach the eastern edge of the city.

US-led coalition jets are supporting Iraqi special forces in the fight as they advance on the IS stronghold.

Iraqi troops and their allies have been bombarding IS positions on the edge of Mosul's Gogjali neighbourhood with heavy artillery, tanks and machine gun fire according to Associated Press news agency.

In the nearby village of Bazwaya, which Iraqi forces entered on Monday, smoke was seen rising from buildings where shells were landing.

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Iraqi forces 'a few hundred metres' from Mosul

The Iraqi government’s best troops made rapid progress as they pushed much closer to the eastern edge of Mosul.

Much sooner than anyone expected, two villages on the road into the city fell to the government advance and Iraqi flags were raised.

The Iraqi general in command said: “Our troops are now very close to Mosul. After liberating Bazwaia ... we are only a few hundred metres away.”

Iraqi troops advance into eastern outskirts of Mosul

Iraqi troops on the outskirts of Mosul Credit: APTN

Iraqi elite troops appear to be edging into Mosul, following two weeks of fighting against so-called Islamic State fighters in the surrounding area.

Reuters reported an Iraqi officer as saying troops had entered the al-Karama district east of the city.

"They have entered Mosul," General Wissam Araji of the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service said.

It came shortly after a military commander said were just a few hundred metres from Mosul and could enter the city "within hours".

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