Iraqi Forces Push Further Into ISIS-Held West Mosul

Mar 13, 2017, 00:37

An Iraqi Shia paramilitary group, the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) of Shia jihadists, claimed to have made the discovery after driving the militants from the Badush area where the prison is located, as part of a wider United States and Iran-backed campaign to dislodge Daesh from the city of Mosul.

The mass killing of Shia inmates is a reflection of what units fighting under the banner of the Iraqi government also did on many occasions, showing how both sides have perpetrated brutal acts of violence since the outbreak of yet another war within Iraq's borders.

"We are waiting for forensic teams and human rights officials to begin unearthing the grave to uncover the whole story", Mr Nouri said on Sunday.

"We are fighting an irregular enemy who hides among the citizens and uses tactics of booby-trapping, explosions, and suicide bombers, and the operation is taking place with precision to preserve the lives of the citizens", said Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool.

Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul, or the left bank of Tigris, after more than 100 days of fighting against IS militants.

"We are not able to leave pockets (of jihadists) behind us; therefore, the advance includes taking control of areas and searching and clearing them and security checks on the citizens present, then the continuation of the advance", he said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, announced the start of an offensive on February 19 to drive extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.

More than 200,000 Mosul residents have been displaced since the start of the campaign in October, of which more than 65,000 fled their homes in the past two weeks alone, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Staff Major-General Maan al-Saadi of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service told AFP news agency on Sunday about 17 of 40 western districts of the second-largest city had been retaken from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Losing Mosul would be a major blow to Islamic State.

A report by Human Rights Watch released in 2014 said that hundreds of male prisoners were killed by Isis militants at the time.

The operation is part of a larger military offensive to liberate Mosul from IS, which overran the city in 2014.

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