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UN Decries IS 'Mass Executions, Human Shields' In Mosul

  • RFE/RL

An Iraqi soldier walks past graffiti, which reads: "Islamic State will remain," in Bartilla, east of Mosul, on October 27.

An Iraqi soldier walks past graffiti, which reads: "Islamic State will remain," in Bartilla, east of Mosul, on October 27.

The office of UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein has said that militants of the extremist organization Islamic State (IS) have executed at least 232 people in the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul.

Speaking in Geneva on October 28, UN rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani also said IS has been bringing "tens of thousands" of Iraqi civilians into the city to use as "human shields" while Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters push to drive IS out of Mosul.

Shamdasani said the 232 people were executed on October 19 and that 190 of the victims were former officers of the Iraqi security forces. Forty-two of the victims were civilians who refused to obey IS orders.

She added that, because of difficulty confirming information from inside the city, the number of victims might actually be much higher.

Shamdasani also said that IS fighters had rounded up some 8,000 families from districts around the city to implement a "depraved, cowardly strategy" of rendering "certain points, areas, or military forces immune from military operations."

The U.S. Pentagon on October 19 said IS had been using human shields "for several weeks." The International Organization for Migration issued a similar report on October 18.

U.S. Brigadier General Matthew Isler said on October 28 that U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have captured 40 villages around Mosul from IS since the operation began last week.

WATCH: Iraqi Forces Close In On Mosul

Isler also said the U.S.-led international coalition has stepped up its air strikes in support of the Mosul offensive.

A spokesman for an Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia said the same day that his group was about to launch an offensive on the city from the west.

UN spokeswoman Shamdasani said her organization is concerned about possible "revenge killings" against locals who militia fighters believe supported IS.

There are believed to be some 1.5 million civilians in the Mosul area.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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