Nineveh (Islamic State) Eighty corpses of Islamic State militants packed the central hospital in western Mosul’s town of Tal Afar after intense clashes with pro-government militias, a local source in Nineveh said Monday.
The dead bodies included those of senior foreign leaders who died in clashes Sunday with al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units), the source told Alsumaria News.
“Forensic authorities at Tal Afar hospital in Nineveh received today 80 dead bodies belonging to Daesh (IS) members of Arab and foreign nationalities, most notably a French national in charge of recruiting suicide bombers, and another commander of attackers battalion nicknamed Abu Omar al-Shami,” said the source.
The group put the corpses into refrigerators and labelled them with number tags, according to the source, who added that dead local fighters were handed over to their families, while others were buried in special cemeteries.
The group is still withholding the bodies of foreign fighters and bars any Iraqi medical worker from approaching them, the source said.
Al-Hashd media service said Monday the forces had killed 50 IS fighters out of 200 who attacked PMUs in a bid to open an escaping channel to Syria. It was the first time IS fighters were seen using tanks in their attacks, the media service added.
PMUs, a conglomerate of Shia volunteer militias, have been actively fighting Islamic State militants on the Iraqi government’s side since the group emerged in 2014 to proclaim an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq.
Iraqi government forces, backed by PMUs and a U.S.-led international military coalition, have been fighting Islamic State since mid October to retake the city of Mosul, the group’s largest bastion in Iraq which fell in its grip in 2014. Operations have so far managed to recapture the whole eastern section of the city, and preparations are underway to invade the west, where military commanders predict a tougher battle.
PMUs, which gained state recognition as a national armed force in November, have been active in western Mosul around Islamic State’s supply lines coming from Syria, and had achieved a remarkable victory in November when they recaptured the Tal Afar military airport.