'Intense' fighting in Iraq's Mosul as civilians flee
Published : Nov 21, 2016, 12:30 pm IST
Updated : Apr 19, 2018, 4:27 pm IST
Iraqi troops on Sunday fortified their positions in Mosul neighbourhoods retaken from the Islamic State group as their advance toward the city center was slowed by sniper fire and suicide bombings, as well as concern over the safety of civilians.
A few hundred civilians emerged from rubble-strewn front-line neighbourhoods on Sunday. They included women and children, some of them carrying bags, small suitcases or waving white flags. Mosul is still home to more than 1 million people.
The government sent half-dozen trucks loaded with food aid into the recently liberated areas.
Chaos broke out in one neighbourhood, where residents climbed on top of the trucks and began helping themselves.
Women extended their hands in desperation, trying to get a share of the aid. Young boys chased the trucks and jostled and pleaded for food packages.
It's hunger that makes people behave like this. Some families took many boxes, while others did not take any. This is unfair, said Mohammed Farouq, a 27-year-old resident.
Iraqi forces were searching homes in areas retaken from IS, looking for militants and vehicles rigged with explosives. Troops in those areas continue to be hit by mortar rounds, sniper fire and suicide bombers.