Tal Afar (IraqiNews.com) A family of seven members died when their house collapsed due to underground excavations by the Islamic State west of Mosul, a source was quoted saying on Wednesday.
A local source was quoted saying in a press statement that the family, which included children, died under rubble when their house collapsed due to underground tunnels dug by the militants in the Islamic State’s stronghold town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul.
The source said militants usually prevent residents of houses above their working sites from leaving, adding that the tunnels serve as a defense technique against imminent assaults by security forces .
A week ago, Islamic State militants reportedly confiscated tens of civilian-owned vehicles to build fortifications in the town.
A source told Alsumaria News that the cars blocked the streets of the town, forming walls against possible offensives.
Islamic State have been holding Tal Afar since 2014, with the area becoming one of its most significant bastions in Nineveh province.
So far, offensives by the pro-government Popular Mobilization have isolated the town from the Syrian borders and from Mosul, and recaptured a main military base there.
Government troops are currently fighting IS militants in central Mosul’s Old City, where they group declared its rule in Iraq in 2014.
The issue of Tal Afar’s invasion has been controversial since Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, launched an offensive in October to retake areas occupied by the Islamic State in Nineveh, most notably the city of Mosul.
The Shia-led Popular Mobilization has occasionally said its fighters were awaiting orders from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to invade the mostly-Sunni Turkmen town. But regional Sunni powers, especially Turkey, had opposed the notion fearing sectarian consequences, obliging Abadi’s government to reassure that only the official forces would take up the mission.