Reports from northern Iraq say Iraqi government forces have entered the last settlement on the northern approach into the extremist-controlled city of Mosul.
Troops from the Iraqi Army reportedly were in the village of Tall Kayf, just 5 kilometers due north of Mosul, early on October 23.
The advance against Islamic State (IS) militants came after Iraqi troops on October 22 seized control of the strategic town of Hamdaniyah about 12 kilometers east of Mosul.
Hamdaniyah had been predominantly Christian before it was seized by IS militants in August 2014.
Its strategic importance is that it lies at the intersection of many desert roads to the southeast of Mosul.
Backed by international air strikes, Iraqi Army troops also control the town of Bartella, about 12 kilometers due east of Mosul.
Bartella controls access into Mosul from Iraq's Highway 2 -- which links Mosul with Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region.