Advancing Iraq troops broke through Islamic State defence lines in an eastern suburb of Mosul on Monday, taking the battle for the insurgent stronghold to inside the city limits for the first time, a force commander said.
They made the gain as the offensive to recapture Mosul — the largest military operation in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 — entered its third week.
Commanders had warned earlier that the battle for the city, the hardline militants’ de facto capital in Iraq, could take weeks and possibly months.
Troops of the Iraqi army’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) moved forward on Gogjali, an industrial zone on the eastern outskirts, on Monday after two weeks of fighting to clear surrounding areas of the insurgents.
They then reached Karama district, their first advance into the city itself, an officer said.
“They have entered Mosul,” he said. “They are fighting now in Hay (district) al-Karama.”