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):
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.