The fight for Mosul has broken through ISIL defences to within 1.5 kilometres of the city limits for the first time, a force commander said.
Iraqi troops have reportedly reached an eastern suburb of the city, which has been a stronghold of the jihadist group for two years.
In the past two weeks, US-backed Iraqi forces have cleared the areas surrounding Mosul of insurgents. The break through represents the start of the biggest military offensive in the country since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Following a dawn assault on Monday (October 31), said to be supported by US-led air strikes, hundreds of Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces have reportedly breached Bazwaya, the village on the outermost edge of the city limits.
The battle for Bazwaya was met with some resistance and commanders say the fight for Mosul could take months.
Soldiers from Iraq’s CTS forces are now said to be moving forward in the industrial zone of Gogjali.
Meanwhile, the ninth division of the Iraqi Army is reportedly advancing from the south in the fight for the militants’ last major stronghold in the country.