Iraqi pontoon is only link for wary Mosul residents
MOSUL: On a pontoon bridge connecting East and West Mosul, residents of a city shattered by the battle to expel Islamic State cross back and forth, trying to rebuild their lives from the rubble.
The temporary structure, known as the Victory Bridge, is the only crossing over the Tigris River in the city itself. Other bridges, including the landmark Iron Bridge, were wrecked in nine months of urban warfare which saw Iraqi government forces fight the militants -streetby-street and house-by-house.
With Mosul back in government hands, hundreds of people stream over each day to check homes in the devastated west side, salvage belongings or find a place to stay in the east.
All have tales of hardship and suffering under three years of IS rule and, despite their relief that is over, now they are worried about their present predicament and the future.
Many people from West Mosul, where whole neighbourhoods were flattened in air and artillery strikes by a US-led coalition, are struggling to pay rent in temporary accommodation.
Often they have no work and are running out of funds.
Safwan al-Habar, 48, who has a house in al-Zinjili district, had spent a morning seeking help after IS had booby-trapped his house.
“Two bombs were attached to each other with wire. If you put your leg on it, it will explode,” he said.
“Do you know anyone who can remove it?” he asked. “Every day I go to the military and every day they say come back tomorrow. I am in a mess.
“I’m paying rent but I want to go home.” Reuters