iraqi forces battle Islamic State fighters in Mosul
Iraqi forces battle Islamic State fighters in Mosul

Islamic State fighters have killed more than 250 people and kidnapped nearly 8,000 families around Mosul in recent days as Iraqi troops advanced on the northern city, the United Nations said Friday.

UN rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva that the jihadists are forcing civilians living in districts around Mosul into the city. They hope to use the civilians as human shields in an upcoming battle.

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Those targeted in mass killings have especially included civilians who refuse relocation orders. People who previously worked for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are also targetted, Shamdasani said.

The IS jihadists slaughtered 24 ex-ISF officers on Tuesday and another 190 on Wednesday, according to rights office reports.

The jihadists shot the latter group at the Al-Ghazlani military base inside Mosul, Shamdasani said.

Also on Wednesday, the jihadists shot dead 42 civilians at the al-Izza military base outside Mosul. The jihadists shot them in the head. A UN rights office statement disclosed this was apparently for refusing to follow the IS group’s instructions.

The rights office earlier in the week had listed a series of purported IS atrocities around Mosul. He, however, described the allegations as “preliminary” and needing more investigative work.

Shamdasani said Friday that the fresh allegations had been “corroborated”, but may not reflect the full toll as there were likely other atrocities that have gone unreported.

Islamic State jihadists resort to kidnapping

Meanwhile, the rights office said the extremists had kidnapped nearly 8,000 families around Mosul, the majority from the Al-Shura sub-district.

“Credible reports suggest that ISIL has been forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes in sub-districts around Mosul,” said Shamdasani, using another acronym for IS.

She said the jihadists were using a “depraved, cowardly strategy” in the face of a US-backed Iraqi government offensive to retake Mosul. Mosul is IS’ last bastion in Iraq.

Iraqi forces launched the offensive on October 17. They are advancing on Mosul from south, east and north.

Last week, the rights office reported dozens of execution-style killings in villages near Mosul. This includes the shooting of a physically disabled girl who failed to keep up on a forced march.