(IBT) Militants of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) are reported to be planting bombs near residents’ front doors in Mosul to prevent them from leaving their homes, as Iraqi forces make their final push against the jihadists after seven months of fighting.
Trapped in a shrinking area of control in the city, the militants are increasingly using the several hundred thousand civilians under their control as human shields to avoid being targeted. Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi of the elite Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) said Isis chained civilians by the hands and used them as human shields to move around.
Backed by a US-led coalition, Iraqi forces have made rapid gains since opening a new front in north-west Mosul this month and have now dislodged Islamic State from all but about 12 square km (five square miles) of the city.
The militants 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 – beginning on 27 May – even if pockets of resistance remain in the Old City.
Lieutenant-General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi told state TV his elite Counter Terrorism Services (CTS) were advancing steadily in the Rifaie and Najjar districts, aiming to reach the western bank of Tigris river and complete the Old City’s encirclement. The militants had deployed 30 suicide car bombs against his troops in Mosul over the past two days, he said.
Source: International Business Times.