MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — The Latest on the offensive by Iraqi forces and their allies to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group (all times local):
An Iraqi military officer says five of Iraq's special forces that were advancing deeper into the IS-held territory of Mosul have been killed.
The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to brief reporters, added on Friday that one officer and three soldiers were wounded, as well as one Iraqi journalist who had been embedded with the advancing troops.
The U.N. human rights office in Geneva says it has new reports from Iraq that the Islamic State group has been carrying out mass killings in Mosul amid a government-led offensive to retake the city from IS.
Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani says the rights office has received reports of an incident that happened on Monday when IS allegedly killed 50 of its own militants at the Ghazlani military base in Mosul for "alleged desertion."
Shamdasani told reporters on Friday that her office also has reports indicating that four women were killed and 17 other civilians wounded in airstrikes on Wednesday in the Quds neighborhood of eastern Mosul.
She says it was not the first time that her office had received a report of civilian deaths, but didn't elaborate.
She also cited reports that IS has been holding nearly 400 women captive in the town of Tal Afar, near Mosul.
Iraqi special forces have swung around to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul from a new entry point, to the city's northeast.
The Iraqi troops' move prompted heavy fire from IS, forcing the soldiers to call in airstrikes that destroyed at least one explosives-laden vehicle that was trying to attack them.
Columns of armored vehicles wound through open desert on Friday, pushing through dirt berms to enter the middle class neighborhoods of Tahrir and Zahara, and passing a district once named after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The advance came under heavy fire from mortars, automatic weapons, snipers and anti-tank rockets.
Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Timimi told The Associated Press that three militants tried to attack the troops in eastern Mosul with explosives-laden vehicles but were destroyed, including a bulldozer that was hit by an airstrike from the U.S.-led coalition supporting the offensive
Islamic State militants defending the Iraqi city of Mosul against advancing Iraqi special forces have hit an Abrams tank with a rocket, disabling the vehicle.
The attack came as fighting intensified on Friday in the city's east.
The Abrams tank was hit by an anti-tank rocket fired from a building as it was advancing, sending the crew fleeing from the smoking vehicle, seemingly unharmed.
The clashes are the most violent yet since the operation to drive IS out from Iraq's second largest city began over two weeks ago, with both sides firing small arms and mortar shells after the special forces laid down an artillery barrage ahead of their advance.
As smoke rose over the city, an IS bulldozer and another car were seen on the move across the battlefield — presumably packed with explosives and preparing for suicide attacks.
Iraqi special forces say they have begun their assault into more urban neighborhoods of Mosul from its easternmost district, its latest push to drive Islamic State fighters from the city.
Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Timimi tells The Associated Press that the Thursday advance began with artillery and mortar strikes on the Aden, Tahrir, and Quds districts, just west of special forces footholds in Gogjali and Karama neighborhoods.
The Islamic State group is fighting to hold Iraq's second city of Mosul as Iraqi forces and allied Kurdish troops advance on the city with U.S.-led coalition support.
On Tuesday, Iraqi troops entered the city limits for the first time in more than two years, gearing up for urban warfare expected to take weeks, if not months.