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World Liberation from militants leaves devastation in Mosul

23:25  14 july  2017
23:25  14 july  2017 Source:   ap.org

Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul

  Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul Some 300 Islamic State fighters remain in the small patch of territory still controlled by the group in Mosul's Old City, a senior Iraqi commander said Wednesday.Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of Iraq's special forces told The Associated Press that the militants' hold on Mosul has shrunk to a 500 square meter (600 sq. yard) area. A large number of civilians are believed to be trapped in the IS-run enclave, with around 1,500 fleeing with every 100-meter (yard) advance by Iraqi forces.

MOSUL , Iraq (AP) — There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. His neighborhood was unrecognizable.

Mosul , Iraq, liberation , victory, destruction, buildings, Islamic State, Daesh, airstrikes. The nearly 9-month fight culminated with a crescendo of devastation - the blasting of the historic Old City to root out the deeply dug-in militants .

In this July 11, 2017 photo, the sun sets behind destroyed buildings in the west side of Mosul, Iraq. The 9-month fight to defeat the Islamic State group in Mosul ended in a crescendo of devastation: bombardment that damaged or destroyed a third of its historic Old City in just three weeks. The cost of uprooting the militants was the destruction of large swaths of Iraq’s second largest city, leaving a population that is displaced, exhausted and potentially embittered if there is no reconstruction. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)© The Associated Press In this July 11, 2017 photo, the sun sets behind destroyed buildings in the west side of Mosul, Iraq. The 9-month fight to defeat the Islamic State group in Mosul ended in a crescendo of devastation: bombardment that damaged or destroyed a third of its historic Old City in just three weeks. The cost of uprooting the militants was the destruction of large swaths of Iraq’s second largest city, leaving a population that is displaced, exhausted and potentially embittered if there is no reconstruction. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

MOSUL, Iraq — There was a smell of death in Mosul's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. His neighborhood was unrecognizable.

Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul

  Iraqi commander says 300 IS fighters holed up in Mosul Some 300 Islamic State fighters remain in the small patch of territory still controlled by the group in Mosul's Old City, a senior Iraqi commander said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) 2/5 SLIDES © The Associated Press Fleeing Iraqi civilians walk past the heavily damaged al-Nuri mosque as Iraqi forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. As Iraqi forces continued to advance on the last few hundred square kilometers of Mosul held by the Islamic State group, the country's Prime Minister said Tuesday the gains show Iraqis reject terrorism.

MOSUL , Iraq — There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. The nearly 9-month fight culminated with a crescendo of devastation — the blasting of the historic Old City to root out the deeply dug-in militants .

MOSUL , Iraq -- There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. The nearly 9-month fight culminated with a crescendo of devastation -- the blasting of the historic Old City to root out the deeply dug-in militants .

"All that's left is rubble and the bodies of families trapped underneath," the 23-year-old said. He flipped through photos on his phone, showing picture after picture of wreckage. His own house was "cut in half," he said. He had to cover his nose with his tee-shirt because of the smell of buried, rotting bodies.

Iraq's U.S.-backed forces wrested Mosul from the Islamic State group at the cost of enormous destruction. The nearly 9-month fight culminated with a crescendo of devastation — the blasting of the historic Old City to root out the deeply dug-in militants.

Nearly a third of the Old City — more than 5,000 buildings — was damaged or destroyed in the final three weeks of bombardment up to July 8, according to a survey by U.N. Habitat using satellite imagery. Across the city, 10,000 buildings were damaged over the course of the war, the large majority in western Mosul, the scene of the most intense artillery, airstrikes and fighting during the past five months. The survey only covers damage visible in satellite photos, meaning the real number is likely higher.

Major IS counterattack in Mosul pushes back Iraqi forces

  Major IS counterattack in Mosul pushes back Iraqi forces A major Islamic State group counterattack Friday along the northern edge of Mosul's Old City neighborhood has pushed Iraqi Army forces back some 75 meters (82 yards) and is threatening recent gains in other Old City fronts, an Iraqi military officer said. An Incredible $200 Intro Bonus Just For Using This Card Learn More Sponsored by NextAdvisor The officer said the attack was launched just after noon Friday and estimated it was carried out by 50 to 100 IS fighters. A doctor at a medic station said he received more than a dozen wounded Iraqi soldiers.Both men spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

MOSUL , Iraq (AP) — There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. His neighborhood was unrecognizable.

MOSUL , Iraq (AP) — Three weeks of artillery and airstrikes damaged or destroyed nearly a third of Mosul 's Old City, according to a U.N. survey, a sign of the ferocity of the fight to uproot the Islamic State group from the Iraqi city. Iraq's prime minister this week declared victory in Mosul .

The population, once numbering 3 million, is battered and exhausted, with hundreds of thousands displaced. Without a swift campaign to rebuild Mosul, aid and rights groups warn the current humanitarian crisis will balloon and resentment will likely give way to extremism, undermining the victory.

"If the western half is ignored it will produce a social disaster and this social disaster will create bigger destruction if it's not addressed," said Khatab Mohammed al-Najjar, a resident of eastern Mosul who watched the Old City burn from across the Tigris River during the operation.

"West Mosul produced Daesh, and it is very possible it may produce a new Daesh," he said, referring to west Mosul's historically more religious and traditional residents. He used the Arabic acronym for IS.

When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul Monday, he pledged reconstruction would begin soon. But his government still struggles to finance day-to-day workings of the state amid low oil prices.

'Victory' over Islamic State in Mosul to be announced in next hours: Iraqi state TV

  'Victory' over Islamic State in Mosul to be announced in next hours: Iraqi state TV Iraqi security forces expect to take full control of Mosul in the next hours as only a few meters are left under the control of Islamic State, Iraqi state TV said on Saturday. "We are seeing now the last meters (of the battle) and then victory will be announced," said a TV speaker, citing the channel's correspondents embedded with security forces battling in Islamic State's redoubt in the Old City of Mosul, by the Tigris river. "It's a matter of hours," she said.A military spokesman cited by the TV said the insurgents' defense lines were collapsing.

The 9-month fight to defeat the Islamic State group in Mosul ended in a crescendo of devastation : bombardment that damaged or destroyed a third of its historic Old City in just three weeks. The cost of uprooting the militants was the destruction of large swaths of Iraq’s second largest city, leaving a

MOSUL , Iraq (AP) - - Three weeks of artillery and airstrikes damaged or destroyed nearly a third of Mosul 's Old City, according to a U.N. survey, a sign of the ferocity of the fight to uproot the Islamic State group from the Iraqi city. Iraq's prime minister this week declared victory in Mosul .

Thousands of Mosul families have been left without a home. Schools have been leveled, utility grids wrecked, highways pounded into broken dirt roads.

All five of the city's bridges spanning the Tigris River have been damaged. The main hospital complex where a battle raged for more than a month is a burned out shell. Mosul's airport looks like a derelict parking lot, booby-trapped with explosives by fleeing IS fighters.

In eastern Mosul, the destruction was less intense. More than 160,000 of the 176,000 people who fled the east have returned, according to the U.N. Residents have begun rebuilding homes, shops have reopened, and demining is underway.

But west of the Tigris, neighborhoods have been rendered into ghost towns. There, coalition strikes killed some 5,805 civilians between Feb. 19 and June 19, according to Airwars, a London-based monitoring group tracking civilian deaths resulting from coalition actions.

Fewer than a tenth of the more than 730,000 people who fled western Mosul have filtered back.

Saif Mohammed recently re-opened his sandwich shop on a main avenue in the west, repairing war damage with the help of a $5,000 loan from relatives. On the same street, only two or three other shops are open. The other storefronts are bombed out and burned, the corrugated Iron doors warped by explosions.

Iraqi elite force reaches Mosul Old City riverbank as Islamic State faces defeat

  Iraqi elite force reaches Mosul Old City riverbank as Islamic State faces defeat Islamic State militants threw themselves into the Tigris on Sunday, trying to flee the battlefield in Mosul as Iraqi forces reached the riverbank, bringing them to the verge of victory.After eight months of combat that has left parts of the city in ruins, killed thousands of civilians and displaced nearly one million people, Iraqi officials say they have almost regained full control of Mosul.

MOSUL , Iraq (AP) — There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home.

MOSUL , Iraq – There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. The nearly 9-month fight culminated with a crescendo of devastation — the blasting of the historic Old City to root out the deeply dug-in militants .

His shop is a bet that residents will return. "But what people really need is government help," he said. "If the government doesn't give money, there won't be any rebuilding."

Hiyam Mohammed hid in her home with her family on the edge of the Old City throughout the fight. They could see the cemetery from their house.

"Some days the funerals lasted from dawn into the night. There were so many bodies piled up, it looked like a hill," she said. "I thought I was going crazy seeing this. They didn't even have time to wash the dead."

She said the only way to justice is if the government and coalition pay compensation to those who lost relatives or property.

"The government brought Daesh to us," she said, referring to sectarian rule that fueled Sunni extremism and corruption that weakened the country's security forces. "This mess is God's revenge for that."

But some in the security forces have resentments of their own, blaming Mosul residents for supporting IS.

"The people here have always had a rebellious nature, so they should take some responsibility for what has happened," said Maj. Imad Hassan, a federal police officer from Baghdad.

During the campaign, his unit fought to capture a stretch of the corniche running along the Tigris, hammering it with artillery for weeks to clear out IS resistance. The former municipal center was shredded, rows of buildings blackened, palm trees lining the boulevard burned.

US-led coalition: Amnesty report on Mosul 'irresponsible'

  US-led coalition: Amnesty report on Mosul 'irresponsible' The U.S.-led coalition said Wednesday that an Amnesty International report accusing its forces of violating international law during the fight against the Islamic State group in Mosul is "irresponsible."The report released Tuesday said Iraqi civilians were subjected to "relentless and unlawful attacks" by the coalition and Iraqi forces during the grueling nine-month battle to drive IS from Iraq's second largest city. It said IS militants had carried out mass killings and forcibly displaced civilians to use them as human shields.

The 9-month fight to defeat the Islamic State group in Mosul ended in a crescendo of devastation : bombardment that damaged or destroyed a third of its historic Old City in just three weeks. The cost of uprooting the militants was the destruction of large swaths of Iraq's second largest city, leaving a

There was a smell of death in Mosul 's Old City when Ayman Hashem came back this week to see what happened to his home. His neighborhood was unrecognizable."All that's left is rubble and the bodies of families trapped underneath," the 23-year-old said.

"I hope this destruction teaches them their lesson," he said.

Iraqi and coalition officials say the devastation was the result of the Islamic State group's tenacious grip. IS transformed the city into a fortress. Its fighters used hospitals and schools as military bases, moved civilians from the rural outskirts into central neighborhoods to use as shields from airstrikes and rigged hundreds of houses and roads with explosives.

Nearly 10 years ago, Maj. Maher Aziz Khalaf fought IS' predecessor, al-Qaida, in Mosul alongside U.S. forces. But when he rolled into western Mosul with the first wave of Iraqi special forces troops in early February he said he immediately realized this battle would alter the city in a way previous fights hadn't.

"In 2008 it was different. We would just identify which houses the terrorists were living in, come in at night and arrest them," he said. "We were fighting gangs, not an entire city."

A coalition spokesman, Col. Joe Scrocca, said the forces had to balance between protecting non-combatants and infrastructure on one hand and moving quickly on the other. Another factor, he said, was that the longer it took to free the city, the more danger civilians were in, whether from lack of food or IS retaliation.

Hesitant to risk casualties along their own troops, Iraqi military commanders relied on airpower and artillery to clear neighborhoods where a handful of IS fighters armed with light weapons and civilians as human shields repeatedly stalled entire units of Iraq's military.

As the fight moved to the Old City, rights groups and the U.N. warned the coalition and Iraqi forces against using large munitions. Still, the U.S.-led coalition repeatedly approved the use of 500- and 2,000-pound bombs inside the densely populated district.

As waves of civilians fled the Old City, more than a dozen individuals told the AP they knew of multiple families killed under their homes by what they believed to be airstrikes.

"The buildings can be rebuilt, but the human lives lost cannot," said Iraqi special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Ghani al-Asadi from a base on the edge of Old City on Tuesday.

"But the buildings in the Old City were all very old anyway," he said. "Now we can demolish them and build apartment buildings."

___

Associated Press writers Salar Salim, Felipe Dana, Bram Janssen and Balint Szlanko in Mosul, Iraq, and Lee Keath in Cairo contributed to this report.

Teenage girl from Germany captured in Mosul Old City .
She's under investigation in her home country for support of the Islamic State militant group.<br>Images of the girl, identified only as Linda W., in accordance with German privacy laws, were widely shared on social media. Newsweek has chosen to conceal her identity because of her age.

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