Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State militants have killed 15 civilians in western Mosul for refusing to allow the group’s snipers to position or erect rocket launchers above their residences as Iraqi government forces push deeper against the militant group.
Islamic State has regularly been reported to kill civilians for trying to escape areas under its control in western Mosul or collaborate with security forces since Iraqi forces launched an offensive in February to retake that region.
Al-Arabiya quoted Qusai al-Kanaani, a major from the Iraqi joint forces, saying he believes four Islamic State snipers were deployed at al-Refaie, Zanjili and al-Sihha districts in western Mosul.
Iraqi generals say IS’s reliance on snipers and booby-traps, as well as their entrenchment in the middle of civilians, has slowed down advancement by security troops in central Mosul districts, especially at the narrow streets of the Old City, a strategic area from where Islamic State first declared the establishment of its rule in Iraq in 2014.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, took over eastern Mosul in January after three months of battles.
The U.S. State Department said on Twitter on Friday Iraqi troops currently control 4000 kilometers of the city.
The U.S.-led coalition had estimated the number of remaining IS militants in Mosul by less than 1000. The group has lost dozens of its foreign and local leaders since the start of western Mosul operations. On Friday, the Federal Police service said it killed the group’s booby-trapping official for western Mosul, Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Rusi, a Russian national, and three other Asian aides.