US

Iraqi forces begin assault on Mosul district with artillery

  • An Iraqi special forces soldier stands atop a Humvee in the village of Bazwaya, some 8 kilometers from the center of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Iraqi special forces stood poised to enter Mosul in an offensive to drive out Islamic State militants after sweeping into the last village on the city's eastern edge Monday while fending off suicide car bombs without losing a soldier. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    An Iraqi special forces soldier stands atop a Humvee in the village of Bazwaya, some 8 kilometers from the center of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Iraqi special forces stood poised to enter Mosul in an offensive to drive out Islamic State militants after sweeping into the last village on the city's eastern edge Monday while fending off suicide car bombs without losing a soldier. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Iraqi special forces soldier stands guard as a mortar falls close to his position in the village of Bazwaya, some 8 kilometers from the center of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Iraqi special forces stood poised to enter Mosul in an offensive to drive out Islamic State militants after sweeping into the last village on the city's eastern edge Monday while fending off suicide car bombs without losing a soldier. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    An Iraqi special forces soldier stands guard as a mortar falls close to his position in the village of Bazwaya, some 8 kilometers from the center of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Iraqi special forces stood poised to enter Mosul in an offensive to drive out Islamic State militants after sweeping into the last village on the city's eastern edge Monday while fending off suicide car bombs without losing a soldier. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi special forces soldiers use radio communication as a tank rolls down an alley in the village of Bazwaya, some 8 kilometers from the center of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Iraqi special forces stood poised to enter Mosul in an offensive to drive out Islamic State militants after sweeping into the last village on the city's eastern edge Monday while fending off suicide car bombs without losing a soldier. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    Iraqi special forces soldiers use radio communication as a tank rolls down an alley in the village of Bazwaya, some 8 kilometers from the center of Mosul, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. Iraqi special forces stood poised to enter Mosul in an offensive to drive out Islamic State militants after sweeping into the last village on the city's eastern edge Monday while fending off suicide car bombs without losing a soldier. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's special forces have begun an assault on Mosul, part of operations to drive the Islamic State group from the country's second city.

Troops have opened up with artillery, tank and machine gun fire on IS positions on the edge of the Gogjali neighborhood, with the extremists responding occasionally with rocket-propelled grenades. From the nearby village of Bazwaya, smoke could be seen rising from buildings on the city's edge, where shells were landing.

Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the special forces says the operation began Tuesday morning.

For over two weeks, Iraqi forces and their Kurdish allies, Sunni tribesmen and Shiite militias have been converging on Mosul from all directions to drive IS from the city.

The operation is expected to take weeks, if not months.