QARAQOSH - Iraqi forces advancing on Mosul faced stiff resistance Monday from the Islamic State militant group despite an unprecedented wave of air strikes by the US-led coalition in support of the week-old offensive.

Federal forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters gained ground in several areas, AFP correspondents on various fronts said, but the militants were hitting back with shelling, sniper fire, suicide car bombs and booby traps.

IS has also attempted to draw attention away from losses around Mosul with attacks on Iraqi forces elsewhere in the country, the latest coming on Sunday near the Jordanian border. Following a weekend visit to Iraq by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, American officials said the coalition was providing the most air support yet to the operation.

"One week into Mosul operation, all objectives met thus far, and more coalition air strikes than any other 7-day period of war against ISIL (IS)," Brett McGurk, the top US envoy to the 60-nation coalition, wrote on social media.

"There were 32 strikes with 1,776 munitions delivered" against IS targets between October 17 and 23, coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorrian told AFP.

He said those strikes had destroyed 136 IS fighting positions, 18 tunnels and 26 car bombs. The offensive, launched on October 17, aims to retake towns and villages surrounding Mosul before elite troops breach the city and engage die-hard militants in street-to-street fighting.

On the eastern side of Mosul, federal troops were battling IS on Monday in Qaraqosh, which used to be the largest Christian town in the country. Army forces entered the town for the third day running but armoured convoys deployed around it were met with shelling from inside, an AFP correspondent reported.

Federal forces also scored gains on the southern front, where they have been making quick progress, taking one village after another as they work their way up the Tigris Valley.

On the northern front, Kurdish peshmerga forces were closing in on the IS-held town of Bashiqa.

Turkey, which has a base in the area, said Sunday it had provided artillery support following a request from the peshmerga. The presence of Turkish troops on Iraqi soil is deeply unpopular in Baghdad and the Joint Operations Command on Monday vehemently denied any Turkish participation. But AFP reporters near Bashiqa said artillery fire coming from the Turkish base had been sighted on several occasions since the start of operations a week ago. They briefly seized the mayor's office, captured and executed at least five people - civilians and policemen - and still controlled two neighbourhoods on Monday, army commanders said.

On Friday, IS sleeper cells in Kirkuk joined up with gunmen infiltrating the northern city to launch a brazen raid that saw the militants attack several government buildings.

The attack sparked clashes that lasted three days as security forces imposed a curfew to hunt down attackers holed up in several buildings across the city. The provincial governor, Najmeddin Karim, told AFP on Monday that the attack was over and life was returning to normal. He said more than 74 IS militants were killed in the violence, which also left at least 46 other people dead, most of them members of the security forces.

Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, called for an investigation into an apparent air strike that killed 15 women gathered in a mosque in Daquq, south of Kirkuk, on Friday.

Russia has pointed a finger at the US-led coalition, which denied carrying out the air strike.