Wednesday, May 31, 2017

IS Fighters Seal Off Mosul Mosque in Last Stand; Close Streets by Mosque, Use Civilians as Shields

Islamic State (IS) militants have closed the streets around Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque, residents said, in preparation for a final showdown in the battle over their last major stronghold in Iraq, the Reuters website reports today (May 31, 2017).

Dozens of fighters were seen by residents taking up positions in the past 48 hours around the medieval mosque.

Islamic State's black flag has been flying from the mosque since the militants captured Mosul -- Iraq's second largest city -- in July 2014.

The Iraqi troops' offensive to capture Mosul -- now in its eighth month -- has taken much more time than expected, as Islamic State is fighting in the middle of civilians and using them as human shields.

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