MOSUL, Iraq (Kurdistan24) – The Islamic State (IS) is booby-trapping homes with civilians inside and welding doors shut in western Mosul to prevent families from fleeing as Iraqi forces close in on the Old City.
According to residents, IS’ latest desperate attempts to retain its territory includes trapping families inside their houses and starving them, as well as booby-trapping homes.
“[IS] came to our house and welded the door,” said one resident of the Zinjili neighborhood.
“They gave us a small amount of water and a white cloth and said: ‘Here’s a shroud for you,” she added.
The woman sent a message to a relative saying she was trapped in her house with her husband, her four children, and no food.
A 35-year-old man living in the Old City of West Mosul said IS was desperate to keep the population from escaping, in a phone interview with AFP.
“They have been doing this lately. When they [IS] suspect a family of intending to escape to the security forces, they lock them in,” he said.
According to the man, several families were detained by IS and, in some cases, the group welded doors shut to ensure they could not escape.
“Those families have a choice of dying of hunger, disease or shelling,” he added.
Residents also claim IS has planted booby-traps to prevent a civilian exodus as well as to target Iraqi forces as they advance.
Major General Thamer Abu Turab told AFP they had found several families stuck in booby-trapped homes in the past week.
“We found eight such houses where our EOD (ordnance disposal) teams were able to defuse the devices and get the families out,” he said.
It is estimated that over 400,000 people remain trapped in IS-held neighborhoods of Mosul.
There are fears many civilians will become casualties due to the lack of food and water in the Old City as the battle rages.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany