Friday 27 April 2018

Isil planting mines around Mosul homes to trap people

A displaced Iraqi father and son flee their home in Mosul. Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters
A displaced Iraqi father and son flee their home in Mosul. Photo: Alaa Al-Marjani/Reuters

Ahmed Rasheed

Isil militants are planting bombs near front doors in Mosul to prevent civilians leaving, a federal police commander and witnesses said yesterday, as Iraqi forces make their final push against the jihadists after seven months of fighting.

Trapped in a shrinking area of the city, the militants are increasingly using the several hundred thousand civilians under their control as human shields to avoid being targeted or perhaps to tarnish what Iraqi leaders describe as imminent victory.

Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces have made rapid gains since opening a new front in northwest Mosul this month and have now dislodged Isil from all but about 12 square km of the city.

The militants, however, still control the Old City, where they are expected to make their last stand in the densely populated, narrow streets that are impassible for armoured vehicles, forcing Iraqi forces to advance on foot.

The Iraqi government is pushing to declare victory by the holy month of Ramadan - expected to begin on May 27 - even if pockets of resistance remain in the Old City, according to military commanders.

Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi told state TV his elite Counter Terrorism Services were advancing steadily.

Irish Independent

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