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Indians Held By ISIS In Iraq's Mosul Are Alive: Government

18 June 2017

The Indians were taken hostage in Islamic State-held Mosul in 2014.

The fall of Mosul would effectively mark the end of the Iraqi section of the "caliphate" declared by the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 from an historic mosque in the Old City.

MIDEAST-CRISIS  IRAQ-MOSUL
A displaced Iraqi civilian walks among the debris in western Mosul on Sunday

The wide-scale assault - which was reported to have lasted several hours - underscored the extremist group's resilience in the Iraqi city, despite months of heavy fighting with Iraqi forces backed by U.S. air power.

In a statement, the UNHCR said, "These civilians are basically held as human shields in Mosul's historic district".

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There have been more than 7,000 gunshot wounds of people trying to leave districts still controlled by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL, she said. Civilians trapped in the city have hardly any food, water, electricity or fuel left, and are living in a growing state of "penury and panic ... because they are surrounded by fighting on every side", he added.

The attempts of the Iraqi forces to eliminate ISIS are complicated not only with thousands of civilians being used as human shields in the densely populated areas, but also by the fact that this is urban warfare. The Iraqi military command repeated its concern about the destiny of almost 200,000 civilians who may be trapped behind the lines of the IS, which often use them as human shields, a situation that might delay any offensive.

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More than half a million people have been displaced from west Mosul since the campaign began to defeat the ISIS group there, following the liberation of the eastern half in January. That means 667,000 people remain displaced, almost all of them from western Mosul, and are living in 13 camps set up by UNHCR or with host families.

Geddo said the United Nations agency so far had provided assistance to more than 500,000 of the displaced people, and was also attempting to help those returning to Mosul, often to live in bombed-out buildings.

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Grande said that if more than 40,000 people flee at one time, no institution in the world can help, so the Iraqi military has made a real effort when they attack a neighborhood to keep the daily flight of people below the saturation point of 20,000.

Indians Held By ISIS In Iraq's Mosul Are Alive: Government