Friday 2 December 2016

Islamic State 'hangs traitors' bodies from poles in Mosul'

Qassim Abdul-Zahra

Published 11/11/2016 | 19:24

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters rest on the side of the road after taking the city from Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters rest on the side of the road after taking the city from Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Shoes and artillery sit in the interior of a house formally used by Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Peshmerga 1st Sgt. Ayub Mustafa holds part of a defused bomb planted by Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.(AP Photo/Adam Schreck)
An Iraqi special forces policeman holds a guitar outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Iraqi special forces policemen rest next to fire outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Iraqi special forces policemen rest outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Iraqi special forces policemen dance while holding up weapons outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
An Iraqi Federal Police officer stands inside a former prison used by Islamic State militants in Hamam al-Alil, some 10 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.(AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Iraqi special forces policemen rest outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A man helps Iraqi Federal Police officers break through a wall as they inspect a former prison used by Islamic State militants in Hamam al-Alil, some 10 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
People wait to be allowed to see their relatives who had fled from Mosul, outside the fence of Khazer refugee camp, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
An Iraqi Federal Police officer examines human remains at a site of a mass grave of victims of Islamic State militants in Hamam al-Alil, some 10 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Iraqi soldiers shaves at Shahrezad village east of Mosul, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

Islamic State fighters have killed some 70 civilians in Mosul this week over accusations of collaboration with Iraqi forces pushing into the city to drive them out, the United Nations has said.

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It said in a report that IS reportedly shot and killed 40 people on Tuesday after accusing them of "treason and collaboration", dressing them in orange jumpsuits and hanging their bodies from electrical poles.

The report said that in another incident, the extremists reportedly shot to death 20 civilians in the Ghabat Military Base on charges of leaking information.

Those bodies were hung at various traffic lights in Mosul, with notes stating that they had used mobile phones to leak information.

An Iraqi special forces policeman holds a guitar outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
An Iraqi special forces policeman holds a guitar outside Karamah, south of Mosul, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The reports were the latest evidence of IS exactions on civilians as it retreats into dense urban quarters of Iraqi's second largest city.

Iraqi troops are inching ahead in their battle to retake Mosul

The UN also revealed fresh evidence the extremists have used chemical weapons.

Exchanging small arms and mortar fire with IS positions, the special forces have entered the Qadisiya neighbourhood, advancing slowly to avoid killing civilians and trying to avoid being surprised by suicide car bombers, said Brigadier General Haider Fadhil.

Peshmerga 1st Sgt. Ayub Mustafa holds part of a defused bomb planted by Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.(AP Photo/Adam Schreck)
Peshmerga 1st Sgt. Ayub Mustafa holds part of a defused bomb planted by Islamic State militants in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.(AP Photo/Adam Schreck)

Regular army troops control 90% of the Intisar neighbourhood, said one officer, but progress had slowed because "the streets are too narrow for our tanks".

Iraqi troops are converging from several fronts on Mosul, the second-largest city and the last major IS holdout in Iraq. Kurdish peshmerga forces are holding a line north of the city, while Iraqi army and militarised police units approach from the south, and government-sanctioned Shiite militias guard western approaches.

The offensive has slowed recently as the special forces - the troops that have advanced the farthest - push into more densely populated areas of eastern Mosul, where they cannot rely as much on air strikes and shelling because of the risk to civilians who have been told to stay in their homes.

Meanwhile, the UN human rights office has cited new details as proof that IS is using chemical weapons, which many fear the extremist group has and is saving for if they are cornered or about to lose the city, still home to more than a million people.

People wait to be allowed to see their relatives who had fled from Mosul, outside the fence of Khazer refugee camp, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
People wait to be allowed to see their relatives who had fled from Mosul, outside the fence of Khazer refugee camp, Iraq November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Amid concerns about IS' use of human shields in the city, rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said four people died from inhaling fumes after IS shelled and set fires to the al-Mishrag Sulfur Gas Factory in Mosul on October 23.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Ms Shamdasani said reports indicated IS has stockpiled "large quantities" of ammonia and sulphur that have been placed in the same areas as civilians.

"We can only speculate how they intend to use this," she said. "We are simply raising the alarm that this is happening, that this is being stockpiled."

She added that international law requires protection of civilians near such chemicals.

"There does not have to be an intention to target civilians with the use of these chemical weapons, but particular care must be taken to avoid this affecting civilians," Ms Shamdasani said.

"If that particular care is not taken, or if action is taken instead through negligence or through active action, to cause damage to civilians, then this is clearly prohibited - this is a war crime."

UN officials say about 48,000 people have now fled Mosul since the government campaign began on October 17.

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