Prisoners of Islamic State Freed in Mosul as Militants Lose Grip on City

A number of those released had been jailed for selling cigarettes, violating a smoking ban or possessing a mobile phone, all crimes under ISIS' rule.

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Iraqis smoke nargile at a cafe south of Mosul following its liberation by Iraqi forces, March 11, 2017.
Iraqis smoke nargile at a cafe south of Mosul following its liberation by Iraqi forces, March 11, 2017.Credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP
Reuters
Reuters

Islamic State has released dozens of prisoners held in jails in the districts of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that remain under its control, residents said on Saturday.

The release of the prisoners on Friday is another sign that the militants are being overwhelmed by the U.S.-backed Iraqi offensive that started on October 17 to dislodge them from Mosul, their last major city stronghold in Iraq.

The Islamic State has lost most cities it captured in Iraq in 2014 and 2015. It declared a caliphate that also spanned parts of Syria from Mosul in 2014.

Among those released were people who had been caught selling cigarettes, violating a smoking ban, or in possession of a mobile phone and therefore suspected of communicating with the outside world, the residents said.

Iraqi forces dislodged the Islamic State from the eastern side of Mosul in January, and on February 19 launched the offensive on the districts located west of the Tigris river.

State-run TV on Friday said about half western Mosul has been taken back from the militants who are besieged in the old city center and districts to the north.

One of the men released on Friday said two militants got him out of a basement where he was held captive with other people, blindfolded the group and drove them away in a bus.

"After driving a distance, we stopped and they told us to remove the blindfolds and then they said, 'go, you are free,'" he said by phone, adding that about 25 prisoners were on the bus.

The man, who requested not to be identified, indicated that had spent two weeks in prison for selling cigarettes.

One Mosul resident said his brother had suddenly reappeared at the house on Friday after spending a month in captivity for possessing a mobile phone.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer