Middle East

The Latest: Aid agency: Mosul civilians face 'grave danger'

The Latest on the Iraqi forces' offensive to retake the Islamic State-held city of Mosul (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

An aid agency is warning that the lives of more than 1 million civilians trapped inside the Islamic State-held Mosul "are in grave danger" as Iraqi troops advance and set foot inside the city where fighting is expected to intensify.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, which works with refugees and internally displaced Iraqis, says that around 18,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the start of the massive military operation to retake Mosul over two weeks ago.

The council's Iraq chief, Wolfgang Gressmann, says the agency's aid workers "are now bracing ... for the worst. The lives of 1.2 million civilians are in grave danger, and the future of all of Iraq is now in the balance."

In their battle for Mosul, Iraqi forces for the first time in two years on Tuesday entered the eastern Gogjali and Karama neighborhoods inside Mosul's city limits.

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10:10 a.m.

An Iraqi special forces general says his troops are holding their positions along Mosul's eastern outskirts as poor weather hampers visibility in operations to rout Islamic State fighters from the country's second-largest city.

Brig. Gen. Haider Fadhil says no advances are planned for Wednesday, as high humidity and clouds obscure the view of aircraft and drones.

From the Mosul neighborhood of Gogjali, which is inside city limits but just outside more urban districts, the guns have gone largely silent, although sporadic rifle cracks could be heard as well as some army artillery fire on IS positions.

The pause comes after Iraqi troops on Tuesday set foot in the city for the first time in more than two years, gearing up for urban warfare expected to take weeks, if not months.