The Latest on developments in Iraq, where the offensive to take the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group is now in its third week (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

Airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition aircraft have begun targeting Islamic State group positions inside Mosul's eastern neighborhood of Gogjali, as fighting intensifies on the ground.

Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil of the special forces says that as troops and vehicles advanced toward the city early Tuesday, IS fired at them with guided anti-tank missiles to stop their progress.

If the forces enter the neighborhood, it will be the first time Iraqi troops set foot in Mosul in over two years, after they were driven out by a much smaller force of IS extremists in 2014.

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

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.

___

8:00 a.m.

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.