The Islamic State Iraq and Syria has executed more than 145 civilians for trying to flee the western part of the Iraqi city of Mosul, according to an official.
The official said on Saturday that the civilians from the al-Zanjili neighbourhood in western Mosul were executed after they were caught attempting to escape.
He pointed out that ISIS extremists hanged the bodies of the victims from electricity poles after declaring them apostates for trying to leave “the land of the caliphate”.
Al-Bayati added that the civilians had also been accused of providing information to Iraqi security forces.
Iraqi government forces are now struggling to expel IS militants from the western part of Mosul, where some neighbourhoods are still controlled by the extremists.
The IS seized large swaths of northern Iraq in the summer of 2014 and proclaimed a caliphate in the territory under its control in that Arab country and neighbouring Syria. It made the city of Mosul its main stronghold.
US-backed Iraqi forces have pushed deeper into the last pocket of Mosul controlled by Islamic State (IS) as the battle for the city approaches an end after seven months of grueling urban combat.
Senior Iraqi generals say IS is confined to a small area and is “drawing its last breath”
The number of people fleeing Mosul doubled to 10,000 a day since Friday. Iraqi commanders plan to splinter IS and tackle the remaining militants on many fronts
The militants have now been dislodged from all but a handful of districts in the western half of Mosul including the Old City, where Islamic State is expected to make its last stand, taking advantage of narrow streets and its dense population.
Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul said the area controlled by Islamic State was no more than 9 per cent of west Mosul, which is bisected by the River Tigris.
“It’s a very small area … God willing, this is the final phase,” General Rasoul said.
The elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) stormed the Ureibi and Rifaie districts at dawn on Sunday, according to a statement from the Joint Operations Command.
At the same time, the army’s ninth division and the Interior Ministry’s elite Emergency Response Division attacked the IS bastion of 17 Tammuz.
“Daesh [Islamic State] is drawing its last dying breath,” the commander of the ninth division, Lieutenant General Qasim Nazzal, told state television on Sunday.