Iraqi army tries to reach site of Islamic State executions south of Mosul
By Babak Dehghanpisheh and Stephen Kalin SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - The Iraqi army was trying on Thursday to reach a town south of Mosul where Islamic State has reportedly executed dozens to deter the population against any attempt to support the U.S.-led offensive on the jihadists' last major city stronghold in Iraq. Eleven days into what is expected to be the biggest ground offensive in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, army and federal police units were fighting off sniper fire and suicide car bombs south of Hammam al-Alil, the site of the reported executions on the outskirts of Mosul, an Iraqi military spokesman said. The executions were meant "to terrorize the others, those who are in Mosul in particular", and also to get rid of the prisoners, said Abdul Rahman al-Waggaa, a member of the Nineveh provincial council.
Villagers say they were forced to walk to Mosul as human shields for Islamic StateIslamic State fighters forced women, children and the elderly to walk alongside them for days as human shields to cover their retreat to Mosul, separating out older boys and fighting-aged men along the way for an unknown fate, villagers said. Children and the elderly were released when they arrived in Mosul on Tuesday and told to stay with relatives, they said, speaking by phone from one of the few places where there is still mobile coverage, on the city's edges. A resident of Mosul, Rayyan, said he saw the families when they arrived in the city, "their bare feet bleeding and covered with dust as if coming from under the rubble." "We cried when we saw them," he said.
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New Jersey 'Bridgegate' judge delays closing arguments
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