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Iraqi forces capture first key building in battle for Mosul

Kurdish peshmerga fighters battle with Islamic State at Abu Jarboa village near Mosul. Credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service has entered the building where the state television station is based in Mosul, a commander of the elite unit told Reuters.

The building's seizure is the first important milestone as forces battle for control of the Islamic State-held city.

Two weeks after Iraqi forces, backed by extensive U.S.-led ground and air support, launched their campaign to retake Mosul they have cleared several villages and towns while advancing along the Tigris river from the south.

But fighting inside the city itself, the jihadists' last big bastion in Iraq and still home to 1.5 million residents, could take months.

Iraqi troops filmed gathering on outskirts of Mosul

Iraq's special forces are encircling Mosul as fighting intensifies in areas around the edges of the city.

Forces from the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) are reportedly making progress despite fierce resistance by so-called Islamic State (IS) fighters who still hold the centre of the city, an Iraqi general told Associated Press.

Footage showed PMU vehicles and soldiers undertaking operations southwest of Mosul and advancing toward capturing the town of Tal Afar.

Tal Afar, a town west of Mosul, was taken over by IS in 2014.

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UN: Reports of mass killings by IS around Mosul

A man, who fled Bazwaia village during the Mosul offensive, carrying a white flag. Credit: Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

The United Nations has received "more reports of mass killings around Mosul" by so-called Islamic State (IS) according to a spokeswoman.

Some reports suggest IS killed 40 former Iraqi security forces on Saturday and threw their bodies into a river, the UN added.

The militants also tried to "move about 25,000 civilians to Mosul from Hammam Al-Alil on Monday" but were partly stopped by US-led coalition jets.

Iraqi special forces 'enter' Islamic State-held Mosul

Iraqi special forces have reportedly 'entered' Islamic State-held Mosul. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Iraqi special forces have entered the eastern outskirts of Mosul, according to an army general quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

The troops are reportedly advancing further into the city as fighting continues.

A major offensive to retake Mosul from so-called Islamic State (IS) militants began two weeks ago.

Fierce fighting has been taking place as Iraqi troops, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, face stiff resistance from IS militants.

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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