Iraq says Iranian commander killed fighting IS

Mosul Iraq US strikes compensation The Pentagon

The Iraqi air force dropped leaflets on Friday urging residents in the enclave to flee, raising fears among humanitarian groups for the safety of desperate civilians there.

Mosul is a large city of dense built-up neighborhoods, ancient, congested districts, and agricultural suburbs.

On Saturday, US-backed Iraqi forces began a new offensive to recapture the Old City from three directions.

Late in January, Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, declared the liberation of Mosul's eastern side, or the left bank of Tigris, after more than 100 days of fighting against IS militant.

Iraqi forces on Saturday pushed into the last ISIL pocket in western Mosul, according to a top Iraqi commander.

Snipers and suicide bombers fighting for the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) jihadist group targeted combatants and civilians alike in the Iraqi city of Mosul on Sunday.

Within hours of the offensive's start, the government announced two military officers had been killed in Shafaa.

Its prime target is the medieval Grand al-Nuri mosque with its landmark leaning minaret in Mosul's Old City, where Daesh's black flag has been flying since mid-2014.

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In the fight for Fallujah and Ramadi, cities that were also overrun by IS in 2014 as the group seized vast swaths of territory in Iraq, there was a tipping point in the battles - the moment when the militants' hold on a city had shrunk to only a handful of neighborhoods. One of the worst incidents came on March 17, where the Pentagon determined a USA airstrike set off secondary explosives laid by IS; the ensuing blast killed more than 100 civilians sheltering in a home in western Mosul.

The area - a warren of closely spaced buildings and narrow streets - has posed a significant challenge to Iraqi forces, which have surrounded it with a large number of civilians trapped inside. "This isn't going to be quick, " he said.

Abuses such as those described in the reports could sow the seeds of future conflict even as security forces near the end of the battle for Mosul, IS' most emblematic stronghold.

"The Iraqi government must ensure all exit corridors are genuinely safe for people to flee", it said. The U.N. called on the Iraqi government and its partners "to undertake an urgent review of tactics to ensure that the impact on civilians is reduced to an absolute minimum, in full accordance with global humanitarian law".

On Thursday, the United States admitted that at least 105 Iraqi civilians were killed in an air strike it carried out in Mosul in March.

The UN last week said up to 200,000 more people could flee Mosul as fighting moves to the Old City.

"You have an enclosed area, you have fighters which are determined to hold out, the civilians are in many ways trapped in that area, there haven't been resupplies into the Old City for months", she said.

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