Iraqi Commanders Say ISIS Families Have Joined Mosul Fight - NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Iraqi Commanders Say ISIS Families Have Joined Mosul Fight

The battle to retake Mosul has already forced 87,000 people from their homes, according to the U.N

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Iraqi Commanders Say ISIS Families Have Joined Mosul Fight
    Martyn Aim/Getty Images, File
    In this June 22, 2017, file photo, an Iraqi federal police commander on the front line against Islamic State fighters in Adedat, a neighbourhood in the Old City of west Mosul, the last area of the city under ISIS control.

    Iraqi commanders say female Islamic State militants are firing on their forces and using children as human shields as the extremist group defends its last sliver of Mosul's Old City.

    The militants' use of human shields has repeatedly slowed Iraqi advances throughout the nearly nine-month offensive to retake the country's second largest city, and the commanders' frustration was on display as they watched surveillance footage from the front lines.

    "The women are fighting with their children right beside them," Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi said as he was briefed by an officer holding a tablet computer showing drone imagery. "It's making us hesitant to use airstrikes, to advance. If it weren't for this we could be finished in just a few hours."

    Another officer in the command post suggested using Iraqi artillery, which would not require approval from the U.S.-led coalition. "They're all Daesh, just kill them all," the commander said, referring to the IS group by its Arabic acronym.

    Aid Worker Rescues Mosul Child From ISIS Gunfire

    [NATL] Aid Worker Rescues Mosul Child From ISIS Gunfire in Dramatic Footage

    Warning: Video may disturb some viewers.

    In dramatic footage provided by volunteer aid group Free Burma Rangers, Dave Eubank is seen rescuing a young child from ISIS gunfire in Mosul, Iraq. The rescue followed a surge by ISIS on June 2, 2017. (Video courtesy Free Burma Rangers)

    (Published Thursday, June 22, 2017)

    "There are civilians there, but they are Daesh families," said another officer. Neither would agree to speak on the record, in line with military regulations.

    "For a child, even if his father is a criminal, what has he done?" al-Aridi said. "At the same time, my men are still taking casualties. We had 14 wounded today already."

    Women have also carried out suicide bombings against Iraqi forces. Three female suicide bombers hiding among fleeing civilians killed at least three soldiers over the past week.

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated his forces on their "big victory" in Mosul on Tuesday, as they appeared to be on the verge of driving the militants from their last stronghold, but the grinding, house-by-house fighting continues.

    It's unclear how many civilians remain in the militants' last enclave, which is less than one square kilometer (mile), but the U.N. says some 2,000 to 3,500 people have been fleeing on a daily basis.

    The battle to retake Mosul has already forced 870,000 people from their homes, according to the U.N.

    Watch US 'Mother of All Bombs' Explode in ISIS Strike

    [NATL] Watch US 'Mother of All Bombs' Explode in ISIS Strike

    The Department of Defense released a video of its GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon it has ever used in combat, strike a target in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13, 2017. ISIS forces were believed to be in tunnels and caves, and the massive bomb, nicknamed the "mother of all bombs," killed 36 fighters, according to Afghani officials.

    (Published Friday, April 14, 2017)

    ISIS militants captured the entire city in a matter of days in the summer of 2014, when they swept across northern and central Iraq. Iraqi forces, with the help of a U.S.-led coalition, have since retaken most of that territory, and view Mosul as a decisive battle.

    Associated Press writer Salar Salim in Mosul, Iraq contributed to this report.