Ahead of schedule’ in bid to retake city
Monday, but have another 70 to retake before reaching the city’s outskirts.
Our correspondent adds that they have been meeting some resistance, with rocket-fire killing a member of an Iraqi army tank crew overnight.
Kurdish forces were meanwhile holding their positions in the Khazer area, commander Col Kathar Sheikhan was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 IS fighters remain in Mosul, the Pentagon estimates.
As the fighting gets closer to the city, concerns have been raised for the safety of civilians still trapped in the area.
An Iraq-American journalist who has been on the outskirts of Mosul and has relatives in the city said telecommunications companies had restored mobile phone service there on Monday.
Steven Nabil said this was enabling residents to get the latest on the offensive, and also to provide invaluable intelligence to government forces on the locations of IS militants.
He said people there were feeling a mix of “excitement” at the prospect of liberation but also “stress and worry” about how IS would treat them and fear that they might get hit by an air strike or caught up in crossfire.
Mr Cook said he believed as many as 7 million leaflets would be dropped over Mosul since the weekend that explained to residents “the safest way to conduct themselves as this fighting plays out”.
About 30,000 pro-government troops are involved in the operation. The main assault is being led by Iraqi army troops.
About 4,000 Kurdish fighters are trying to clear villages to the east of Mosul, to allow the army to move in.
US Special Operations personnel are advising forces on the ground. Elite Iraqi counterterrorism forces are expected to join in the coming days.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has issued an appeal for an additional $61m to provide tents, camps, and winter items such as blankets for displaced people inside Iraq and the two neighbouring countries.
UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said: “I am extremely concerned for the safety of up to 1.5 million people living in Mosul who may be impacted.”
Many are expected to be caught in the fighting. There are fears that residents could be used as human shields by IS.
As many as a million people could be forced to flee their homes.
Most are expected to leave “with only the clothes on their backs,” Becky Bakr Abdulla of the Norwegian Refugee Council told the AFP news agency.
Imposters sneak on to Rio 2016 float in Manchester parade
Two imposters sneaked on to a float during the celebratory Rio 2016 parade in Manchester, the British Olympic Association has confirmed.
The pair, dressed in Team GB tracksuits and wearing plastic medals, admitted toSky News they “blagged” their way on to the float and joined the celebrations.
The float was carrying Britain’s gold medal-winning women’s hockey team and athletes from the modern pentathlon.
The BOA said: “It didn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of a wonderful event.”
“We are aware of the matter and are disappointed anyone would want to detract from the athletes’ celebration,” it added.
Four hundred athletes took part in the Manchester celebrations with more 150,000 people lining the streets.
Greater Manchester Police said it did not provide security for the floats and had received no reports regarding the incident. Manchester City Council is yet to comment. Team GB set an Olympic record in Rio 2016 by winning 67 medals two more than they managed at London 2012.
The Paralympians also beat their previous performance with 147 medals - 27 more than four years ago.