Iraqi commanders say IS families have joined Mosul
MOSUL, Iraq — Iraqi commanders say female Islamic State militants are firing on their forces and using children as human shields as the extremist group defends its last sliver of Mosul’s Old City.
The militants’ use of human shields has repeatedly slowed Iraqi advances throughout the nearly nine-month offensive to retake the country’s second largest city, and the commanders’ frustration was on display as they watched surveillance footage from the front lines.
“The women are fighting with their children right beside them,” Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi said as he was briefed by an officer holding a tablet computer showing drone imagery. “It’s making us hesitant to use airstrikes, to advance. If it weren’t for this we could be finished in just a few hours.” Another officer in the command post suggested using Iraqi artillery, which would not require approval from the U.S.-led coalition. “They’re all Daesh, just kill them all,” the commander said, referring to the IS group by its Arabic acronym.
“For a child, even if his father is a criminal, what has he done?” alAridi said. “At the same time, my men are still taking casualties. We had 14 wounded today already.”