253,000 civilians have returned to Mosul, Iraqi minister says
Iraqi Minister of Displacement and Migration Jassim Mohammed al-Jaaf says more than 250,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their homes in Mosul after government forces, backed by allied fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, retook the strategic northern city from Daesh terrorists last month.
Jaaf said on Wednesday that the number has reached 253,000, stressing that his ministry is working on the faster return of displaced families to their hometowns, English-language online newspaper Iraqi News reported.
On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
Mosul’s liberation came on the heels of sweeping gains against Daesh made by Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
An estimated 862,000 people had initially been displaced from Mosul due to the liberation operation.
Daesh holding over 4,000 families as human shields in Anbar town
Meanwhile, a member of the Anbar provincial council says members of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group are holding thousands of people as human shields in the troubled western town of al-Qa’im, located nearly 400 kilometers northwest of the capital Baghdad, and near the Syrian border.
Hamid al-Dulaimi told Arabic-language news website BasNews that more than 4,000 families are being held in the city and not allowed to leave their homes.
Dulaimi added that Daesh Takfiris have fatally shot, decapitated and torched tens of civilians in Qa’im over allegations of spying for Iraqi troops or collaboration with tribal fighters.
Chief of Daesh’s terror training camps slain in Tal Afar
Separately, the director of Daesh’s terror training camps has been killed in the city of Tal Afar, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul, when Iraqi fighter jets struck his vehicle in the western suburbs of the city.
A local source, requesting anonymity, said a high-profile Daesh militant commander was also killed in the airstrike.