AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic
BAZWAYA, Iraq (AP) — The Latest on developments in Iraq where the offensive to take the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group is now in its third week (all times local):
Iraqi special forces have entered the last village to the east of Mosul’s city limits, clearing a path toward the city that was followed by army units.
Armored vehicles, including Abrams tanks, drew mortar and small arms fire as they moved on the village of Bazwaya in the dawn assault on Monday, while allied artillery and airstrikes hit IS positions.
The army says its ninth division had moved up toward Mosul and was now approximately three miles from its eastern outskirts.
At one point, a Humvee packed with explosives raced ahead in attempt to ram the forces, but Iraqi troops opened fire on it, setting off the charge and blowing up the vehicle. Plumes of smoke rose in the air from IS positions hit by artillery and airstrikes.
State television described the operation as a “battle of honor” to liberate the city, which was captured by IS in 2014. It said troops were advancing on the city from three axes.
Iraqi special forces are advancing on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul from the east under heavy fire, inching closer to the city’s limits.
Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil says car bombers are trying to stop the advance, but that his troops aim to enter Mosul’s eastern outskirts today and that they’re just 3 kilometers (2 miles) from that position now.
The Monday dawn assault saw armored vehicles, including Abrams tanks, move on the suburb of Bazwaya as allied artillery and airstrikes hit IS positions, drawing mortar and small arms fire.
For two weeks, Iraqi forces and their Kurdish allies, Sunni tribesmen and Shiite militias have been converging on Mosul from all directions to drive IS from Iraq’s second largest city.
The operation is expected to take weeks, if not months.
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