At least seven civilians have lost their lives in a mortar attack by members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group on a residential neighborhood in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the civilians were killed when several mortar shells fired by the Daesh terrorists struck militant-controlled Zanjili district on Thursday. Another 23 people were wounded in the attack.
The development came shortly after members of the Iraqi Federal Police surrounded Daesh hideouts in the same Mosul district, took control of the terrorists’ communications devices, destroyed a number of SPG-9 Kopye (Spear) recoilless guns and killed 12 extremists.
Separately, Takfiri militants have blocked the area around the strategic Grand al-Nuri Mosque in the western part of Mosul, where Daesh ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his speech on the formation of the terror group.
“The militants are not moving in groups anymore, we see one or two from time to time in the streets as a majority of them are moving through the houses, using the holes they made in the walls,” a Mosul resident, requesting anonymity, said.
“We are dying slowly with no water and no food,” the resident said of the deteriorated situation in Daesh-controlled neighborhoods of western Mosul.
The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people are still trapped in their houses in those areas.
Meanwhile, the presence of large numbers of civilians in the last areas of Mosul held by Daesh extremists is slowing the progress of Iraqi government forces and allied fighters in battles against the terrorists.
“What is disrupting our advance is the presence of civilians. We received hundreds of families through safe corridors,” Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said on Thursday.
Hashd al-Sha’abi frees 300 families from Daesh grip
Moreover, pro-government fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, have rescued 300 families from the clutches of Daesh terrorists south of al-Ba'aj town.
The volunteer forces also laid a siege to the militant-held Jair Qalfas village west of Ba'aj.
Tens of Daeshis slain in Iraqi army airstrikes
Tens of Daesh terrorists have also been killed after Iraqi F-16 fighter jets carried out strikes against four militant positions in Ba’aj.
An arms depot and a bomb-making workshop were also destroyed during the aerial assaults.
Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the Mosul operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.