Iraqi commanders engaged in an operation to liberate the northern city of Mosul say family members of Daesh terrorists have joined the battle as it nears its end.
The commanders said on Thursday that female Daesh elements were firing on Iraqi forces and using children as human shields in Mosul’s Old City.
Lieutenant General Sami al-Aridi, of the Iraqi special forces, said, “The women are fighting with their children right beside them,” adding, “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 Iraqi officer, whose name was not mentioned, said, “There are civilians there, but they are Daesh families.”
Daesh militants are using other tactics such as bombings, sniper fire, and mortar attacks to slow the advance of the Iraqi forces.
Three female bombers hiding among civilians fleeing Mosul killed at least three soldiers over the past week.
Separately on Thursday, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said as many as 15,000 civilians, possibly even as high as 20,000, were still trapped in Mosul.