Mosul (IraqiNews.com) At least one hundred people have been killed as fighting rages on between Islamic State militants and Iraqi troops struggling to recapture western Mosul’s Old City, according to a newspaper.
London-based Alquds Arabi, quoting eyewitnesses, said Monday that the Old City, which Iraqi forces invaded on ground last week following weeks of siege, had been under intense air strikes that left more than 100 civilians dead, mostly women and children.
Muhannad, one survivor, told the paper that “There are many families that are still stuck under debris as houses collapsed on them,” adding that civilians “either due in crossfire or of hunger”.
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The newspaper quoted another one saying that the situation is similar in al-Thawra district, which Iraqi forces said they recaptured on Saturday, adding that relief efforts were absent due to the intense encounters.
According to the eyewitness, more than 30 homes were destroyed in that neighborhood, some belonging to local dignitaries.
He said that that IS combatants use rooftops as shooting vantage points, which draws bombardment by security fighter jets and rocket launchers.
“Many of old Mosul houses, which represent the history and heritage of the city, have been levelled,” said one witness.
“The smell of corpses buried under debris is spreading across the city, making it vulnerable to plagues and germs that could kill civilians.”
The newspaper pointed it quoted a captain at the Interior Ministry’s Rapid Response forces saying Saturday that at least 90 civilians, including women and children, were killed by fire from Islamic State militants, or the U.S.-led coalition, or Iraqi forces during battles at al-Thawra district.
The Iraqi command has reiterated it heeded civilians’ safety since it launched operations in October to retake Mosul from IS militants, accusing the group of fabricating reports about civilian casualties and causing the deaths itself.
But the Pentagon said in March it was going to investigate reports that coalition jets killed more than 200 people in western Mosul.