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425,000 civilians displaced from western Mosul since February: Minister

Displaced Iraqi Lafi and his family pose for a photograph in a tent at Hammam al-Alil camp south of Mosul, Iraq, March 29, 2017. Thirteen people live in the tent. In Mosul, they all lived under the same roof. In the camp, the adults spend a lot of time looking for food and water, Lafi said. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Mosul (IraqiNews.com) 600,000 civilians have been displaced since military operations were launched in Nineveh, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement.

“The number of the displaced reached 600,000 since the launch of Nineveh operations,” Minister Jassem al-Jaff said in a statement on Monday. “133,000 of the total figure returned back to the freed regions.”

“The remaining number of the displaced at the camps has reached 467,000 civilians, 425,000 of whom were displaced since operations began in western Mosul,” the minister said.

“The rest of those displaced from eastern Mosul is estimated at only 42,000 persons,” he added.

The minister indicated efforts by security troops to evacuate families to safe shelters and secure the return of the displaced to the freed regions.

On Thursday, the ministry estimated the total number of civilians displaced from western Mosul 400,000 since an offensive was launched to drive Islamic State militants out in February. 130,000 civilians were previously declared to have returned back to the freed regions in eastern Mosul and southern regions in Nineveh province.

Over four million persons were displaced inside the country since emergence of IS in 2014.

Iraqi troops, backed by U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, retook eastern Mosul from Islamic State in January, after three months of battles. A new offensive was launched in February to retake the western side.