The Bihar Post

Civilians at risk in Iraq as military campaign against deadly Islamic State intensifies

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New York: As the military campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups intensifies in Iraq, United Nations has raised alarm over safety of civilians.

“We are deeply disturbed by reports of civilian deaths and injuries from crossfire and improvised mines, forced recruitment of children and the use of families as human shields in areas under control of ISIL,” Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq said in a news release issued yesterday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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In one such incident, 18 displaced people from Kirkuk’s Hawiga district (about 300 kilometres north of Baghdad) were reportedly killed last Friday when roadside bombs destroyed the truck they were being transported in by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

Noting ISF efforts to protect the general population, Grande added: “All the parties to the conflict – all of them – are obliged under international humanitarian law to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they deserve and need.”

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According to the UN humanitarian arm, nearly 34,000 people have been displaced following the launch of the military offensive to retake the city of Mosul three weeks ago. An additional 39,000 people have been displaced from Hawiga district since early August.

The majority of displaced families are being sheltered in emergency sites and with host communities.

Image Courtesy: UNHCR/Ivor Pricket

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