Iraqi forces fought their way into extremist-held Mosul on Tuesday (November 1st) as a top commander said the "true liberation" of the city from the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) had begun.
Just over two weeks into the massive offensive to retake Mosul -- ISIL's last major stronghold in Iraq -- the army said its forces had managed to push within city limits.
Troops had "entered the Judaidat Al-Mufti area, within the left bank of the city of Mosul", the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.
Mosul is split by the Tigris River, with the eastern half of the city known as the left bank. Judaidat al-Mufti is on the south-eastern side of the city.
Elite Iraqi forces had also recaptured the key village of Gogjali and taken control of a television station building on the eastern edge of the city.
Fighters from the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) had pushed into the area amid heavy fighting on the eastern front over the past two days.
"Now is the beginning of the true liberation of the city of Mosul," Staff Gen. Taleb Sheghati al-Kenani, the commander of CTS, told Iraqiya state television from Gogjali.
As Iraqi forces advanced towards Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned the extremist fighters they would have no place to run.
"We will close in on [ISIL] from every place," he said on state television on Monday.
"They do not have an exit, they do not have an escape, they can only surrender -- they can die or they can surrender," al-Abadi said.