13 civilians die in air and artillery strikes on western Mosul’s Old City

A displaced Iraqi man who fled from clashes, carries children in western Mosul, Iraq, June 3, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Mosul ( Thirteen civilians were killed on Sunday as Iraqi troops bombarded Islamic State locations in western Mosul’s Old City, the militant group’s last holdout in Iraq’s second largest city, an activist was quoted saying.

Anadolu Agency quoted luqman Omar al-Tai saying that Iraqi forces bombarded IS locations in Ras al-Kour, Mashahda, Mayasa and Deka Baraka in the Old City, killing 13, who included three women, and wounding eight, including children.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said Sunday that government forces began invading the Old City, the medieval, densely populated and narrowly structured area where a few hundred militants entrenched in the middle of at least 100.000 civilians believed to be used as human shields.

Several hundreds of civilians have been killed since Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, launched a major offensive in October to retake Mosul which fell under IS control in 2014.

While the Iraqi command leading the campaign has reiterated its forces heeded safety measures that ensure civilians’ lives are protected, recurrent reports say Iraqi strikes were behind civilian deaths on several occasions. The U.S.-led coalition, meanwhile, had admitted causing more than 350 deaths since 2014.

Islamic State militants have also regularly shot at civilians attempting to flee the battlefield towards areas held by Iraqi forces.

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