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Iraqi forces advance cautiously into Mosul; 1 soldier killed

  • Iraqis who fled the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, gather around flames to warm themselves from the cold wind, as they wait to cross to the Kurdish controlled area, in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Cloudy skies neutralized air power in Mosul on Thursday, Iraqi forces said, hampering their advance into the northern city, although they still faced deadly attacks by Islamic State militants that killed seven civilians and two soldiers. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Iraqis who fled the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, gather around flames to warm themselves from the cold wind, as they wait to cross to the Kurdish controlled area, in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Cloudy skies neutralized air power in Mosul on Thursday, Iraqi forces said, hampering their advance into the northern city, although they still faced deadly attacks by Islamic State militants that killed seven civilians and two soldiers. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Iraqi man who fled the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants collects mattresses on the top of a pickup as he waits to cross to the Kurdish controlled area in an open field in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Cloudy skies neutralized air power in Mosul on Thursday, Iraqi forces said, hampering their advance into the northern city, although they still faced deadly attacks by Islamic State militants that killed seven civilians and two soldiers. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    An Iraqi man who fled the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants collects mattresses on the top of a pickup as he waits to cross to the Kurdish controlled area in an open field in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Cloudy skies neutralized air power in Mosul on Thursday, Iraqi forces said, hampering their advance into the northern city, although they still faced deadly attacks by Islamic State militants that killed seven civilians and two soldiers. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi women who fled the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, sit at an open field as they wait to cross to the Kurdish controlled area, in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Cloudy skies neutralized air power in Mosul on Thursday, Iraqi forces said, hampering their advance into the northern city, although they still faced deadly attacks by Islamic State militants that killed seven civilians and two soldiers. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Iraqi women who fled the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, sit at an open field as they wait to cross to the Kurdish controlled area, in the Nineveh plain, northeast of Mosul, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Cloudy skies neutralized air power in Mosul on Thursday, Iraqi forces said, hampering their advance into the northern city, although they still faced deadly attacks by Islamic State militants that killed seven civilians and two soldiers. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi officers say troops are advancing cautiously into eastern districts of Mosul where they face stiff resistance from Islamic State militants.

Airstrikes, automatic fire and artillery were heard from dawn and one soldier was reported killed in clashes. Civilians, some of them wounded, could be seen fleeing the fighting.

The officers say Iraqi forces are aiming to take complete control of the city's Tahrir area and from there move into the adjacent Muharabeen district.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media.

Iraqi forces launched the long-awaited operation to retake Mosul a month ago but have only advanced into a few eastern districts. The troops have faced fierce resistance, with snipers, mortar fire and suicide bombers driving armor-plated vehicles packed with explosives.