Islamic State kills scores of civilians as it takes 8,000 families for human shields

Islamic State killed more than 200 people and has taken thousands more as human shields in the battle for Mosul, the United Nations said on Friday. The extremist group, which has held Iraq’s second biggest city since 2014, killed civilians as well as former Iraqi army officers who refused to comply with orders. There were also credible reports of IS abducting nearly 8,000 families or “tens of thousands” of people from districts around Mosul, United Nations spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said. The civilians are feared to have been brought into the city and used as human shields nearby to military installations.

Isil’s depraved, cowardly strategy is to attempt to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations, effectively using tens of thousands of women, men and children as human shields

United Nations spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani

The reports emerged as a massive operation to drive the militants from Mosul continued. Since the push began last week, Iraqi forces have retaken 40 villages from IS. But the militants have retaliated by slaughtering more than 250 people, including 24 ex-Iraqi officers on Tuesday and another 190 on Wednesday, according to U.N. reports. Ms Shamdasani said on Friday that the fresh allegations had been corroborated but might not reflect the full toll as there were likely other atrocities that have gone unreported. The U.S. military also said it carried out airstrikes near Mosul earlier this week to try to prevent Islamic State from capturing civilians north into the city.

Many of those who refused to comply were shot on the spot, and even among those who did comply, many of them — including 190 former ISF officers and 42 other civilians — were shot dead

Ravina Shamdasani