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ICC Note: Some 300 militants still hold about 500 meters of territory in Mosul’s old city. For every 100 meters that Iraqi forces advance, approximately 1,500 civilians flee, most of them are weak, injured, gaunt and pale. Many die on the battlefield without reaching the safety of the Iraqi forces’ line. However, ISIS continues to put up a fight, using women to conduct suicide bombing attacks against Iraqi forces by hiding with civilians as they try to cross into safety. This has led Iraqi forces to suspect every civilian of being an ISIS family member. However, desperate civilians who have already lost so much do not understand why they are being harassed as they try to flee to safety, increasing the tension between Iraqi forces and civilians.     

07/06/2017 Iraq (ABC News) – “Don’t stop!” the Iraqi special forces lieutenant yelled as a wave of fleeing civilians trudged past his position in Mosul’s Old City in the scorching heat. “Don’t pretend you’re tired! Keep going!” Nearby, dozens of women and children, their hands raised, dropped their bags for security forces to search. Keeping the crowd at a distance, the soldiers yelled at the women to roll up their sleeves and empty everything they were carrying. “We know you’re Daesh,” the soldiers said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. Tensions have escalated in the final days of the battle for Mosul, as suicide bombings carried out mostly by women hiding among groups of civilians target Iraqi forces closing in on the last few hundred square meters (yards) of territory IS controls. At least one such attack struck Wednesday. At a screening center, security forces detained boys as young as 14 they accused of belonging to IS and barred the elderly and sick from stopping to rest during the difficult journey out of the war-torn district, a more than kilometer-long (half-mile) trek on foot over mounds of rubble in 115-degree (47-degree Celsius) heat. Many civilians are believed still trapped in the IS-run enclave, with around 1,500 fleeing with every 100-meter (yard) advance by Iraqi forces. Those emerging from the Old City at this late stage in the fight were weak, injured, gaunt and pale. For months, the district has been bombarded by Iraqi artillery and cut off from food and water.

 

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