Civilians evacuated from Mosul's eastern districts

Iraqi warplanes killed at least 116 so-called Islamic State's (IS) militants in airstrikes on Mosul, and an army commander said the terrorist group was eradicated militarily, the war media department said Tuesday.

From the nearby village of Bazwaya, smoke could be seen rising from buildings on the city's edge, where shells and bombs were landing.

Tuesday's push into Mosul's outer limits by Iraqi and Kurdish forces marks the beginning of the second and more risky phase of the operation to pry the city from the terrorist group's grasp.

The army and special forces are expected to be tasked with taking over Mosul, leaving Shi'ite and Sunni militias and Kurdish forces outside to avoid sectarian tensions inside the mainly Sunni Muslim city.

Elite Counter-Terrorism Service troops retook the eastern Kukjali area and reached the more built-up Karama district, on Tuesday, having entered the city for the first time since it was overrun by IS in June 2014.

More than 100 Daesh terrorists have been killed as Iraqi forces, backed by army air power, keep fighting their way into the northern city of Mosul, the last Daesh stronghold in the Arab country.

London-based Amnesty International said in a statement on Wednesday that fighters from the Sab'awi tribe unlawfully rounded up civilians, beat them with metal rods, gave them electric shocks, placed them in cages and tied some of them to the bonnets of vehicles before parading them through the streets. "They are not going to be allowed to escape", he said in a televised news conference with Iraqi forces in Qayara, south of Mosul.

In September, US Department of State estimated that more than one million people would migrate from Mosul as battles to free the city begin.

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It marks be the start of a gruelling operation for the troops, who will be forced to engage in hard, house-to-house fighting in urban areas which is expected to last weeks, if not months.

Islamic State fighters also have constructed a maze of concrete blast walls and other obstructions in an attempt to slow and split Iraqi forces, as they slowly traverse through the city's explosive-laden suburban expanses, which once was home to more than 2 million residents.

A woman who fled Bazwaia village speaks with a special forces member at their checkpoint, east of Mosul.

About 1,000 of the militants are thought to be foreigners. They stand against an anti-IS force that including army units, militarized police, special forces and Kurdish fighters totals over 40,000 men.

Gen. Abdul-Ghani al-Asadi, the top counterterrorism forces commander, told reporters that the special forces had imposed a curfew in the neighbourhood, while gains there were being consolidated.

Over the same period, he added, "Iraqi aircraft operating along the same axis have neutralized 375 militants, while USA -led coalition aircraft have killed 149 others".

As the Mosul offensive has pressed on, bombings have continued in the capital, Baghdad, part of sustained IS efforts to destabilize the country.

There have also been reports of IS executing almost 300 people in the Mosul area since October 25, the United Nations said.

  • Megan Austin