Iraqi armed forces make progress in Mosul campaign

Posted June 18, 2017

The militants first sneaked into the western Dandan neighborhood at dawn from the Tigris River and took over a mosque, where they used loudspeakers to announce the assault and shouted "God is greatest!" before it was bombed from the air, according to an army officer and a police officer.

The Indians were taken hostage in Islamic State-held Mosul in 2014.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay told media that "we are in touch with all countries that can help us".

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The United Nations believes up to 150,000 civilians are trapped in Mosul's Old City where Islamic State extremists want to keep them as human shields - and are shooting people trying to flee, the U.N. humanitarian chief in Iraq said Friday.

"We know that ISIS moved them with them as they left... locations where the fighting was going on", he said. He said the militants, whom he called ISIS, are using civilians in the old city as human shields. There is hardly any food, water, electricity, fuel.

Since the battle to retake Mosul began nine months ago, an estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from the city, although 195,000 have since returned, mainly to the liberated east of the city.

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Some 800,000 civilians have fled their homes in Mosul, and Iraqi coalition forces backed by US airpower took control of the city's eastern district and most of the west. The Iraqi military command repeated its concern about the destiny of almost 200,000 civilians who may be trapped behind the lines of the IS, which often use them as human shields, a situation that might delay any offensive.

Geddo said those who attempted to leave the city were being shot by snipers deliberately aiming at people trying to flee. That means 667,000 people remain displaced, almost all of them from western Mosul, and are living in 13 camps set up by UNHCR or with host families. He said his agency has assisted more than one-half-million people, providing essential items such as blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, buckets and flat containers for liquids known as jerry cans.

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