90 civilians killed in Mosul fight: Iraqi officer

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At least 90 civilians were reportedly killed in deadly clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIL militants in western Mosul.
An Iraqi Rapid Response officer said the victims had been caught in the fight between the militants and Iraqi forces trying to capture Al-Thawra district in the city’s western side.
“Scores of dead bodies are still trapped under the debris of destroyed houses,” the officer told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.
He said more than 30 houses had been destroyed in the fight in district.
The officer went on to accuse Iraqi forces “of paying less attention to the safety of civilians” during the anti-ISIL fight.
“The forces insist on advancing into civilian areas, especially after sustaining losses in the confrontations against ISIL militants,” he said.
According to the Iraqi officer, ISIL militants have taken scores of hostages while fleeing Al-Thawra district, which Iraqi forces captured from ISIL on Thursday.
“They have taken scores of unarmed civilians at the gunpoint to other areas in western Mosul,” he said.
In February, Iraqi ground forces — backed by U.S.-led coalition air power — began fresh operations to expel ISIL militants from western Mosul, the terrorist group’s last stronghold in northern Iraq.
The ongoing offensive is part of a wider campaign launched last October with the aim of retaking the entire city, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.

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