A member of the Iraqi Federal Police is seen on an armoured vehicle at the frontline in western Mosul, Iraq May 29, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Mosul (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi federal police freed a Yazidi girl who had been kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in western Mosul.
The federal police chief, Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat, said in a statement on Thursday that the police had found a large warehouse containing 3,000 war remnants during the clearing operations in western Mosul.
“A force from the police has managed to free a Yazidi girl during an operation west of the city,” he added.
The Iraqi government declared victory over Islamic State militants in western Mosul last month, saying it concluded more than eight months of battles to recapture the city which the militants held as the capital of their self-styled “caliphate” since 2014. The eastern side of the city was retaken late January.
Following the declaration of victory, Iraqi forces have been in efforts to comb the recaptured areas for remnant IS cells, countering occasional attacks by the group and arresting many hiding among civilian refugees.
IS lost more than 250.000 fighters in the Mosul campaign, according to Iraqi commanders.
The group still holds a few holdouts in Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar, all the targets for future offensives by the Iraqi forces, the U.S.-led coalition and pro-government paramilitary troops.
A statistic released by the Kurdistan Region Government earlier this month said Islamic State’s massacres of Yazidis forced nearly 360.000 of the religious minority to flee their areas, with 90.000 of those having sought refuge abroad.
IS kidnapped 6417 Yazidis since 2014, the report added. Those include 1102 women and 1655 children, the statistics shows, adding that 43 mass graves of Yazidi victims slaughtered by IS, were discovered.
Iraq’s judicial authorities had formed a special panel to probe massacres of Yazidis.
Islamic State militants considered Yazidis, whose beliefs combine elements of several Middle Eastern religions, devil worshipers. The United Nations had recognized IS actions against the sect as crimes against humanity.