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A picture and its story: Capturing the nine-month battle for Mosul
July 11, 2017 / 5:54 PM / 2 months ago

A picture and its story: Capturing the nine-month battle for Mosul

A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. Goran Tomasevic: "Both screaming in terror, the father and the young daughter he cradled in his arm fled through the rubble-strewn streets of Wadi Hajar, transformed in a flash into a battleground between Islamic State fighters and Iraqi special forces. They and their neighbours - some wearing rubber sandals, some barefoot - were running from an IS counter-attack in this part of Mosul, dodging gunfire as the militants closed in. When they reached the special forces lines, males were ordered to lift their shirts to prove they weren't suicide bombers. The father was so beside himself, so panicked. It was obvious because he had a short shirt on and was carrying a child that he wasn't Islamic State. I believe they will both be taken to a refugee camp." REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/Files

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - A screaming father running down a rubble-strewn street in Mosul carrying his distressed daughter was one of the most powerful Reuters images taken during the Iraqi-led assault to remove Islamic State from its stronghold.

The nine-month offensive to recapture the northern city began in October, with thousands killed or displaced before Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory on Monday, three years after the militants seized the city.

Reuters has re-released a selection of pictures from the offensive along with our photographers’ accounts of the events behind them.

They can be seen by clicking: reut.rs/2sMj8og

As U.S.-led coalition air strikes hit the Tahrir district of eastern Mosul in November, Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic was on the streets and captured the panic from one strike that sent civilians fleeing for safety.

“It was close and total panic ensued. People were screaming, ducking and running away,” he said.

The air strikes aided the 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shi‘ite militias who made ground against the militants, some of whom were manhandled when found hiding among civilians.

Newly displaced people wait to receive food supplies at a processing center for displaced people in Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq, October 21, 2016. Zohra Bensemra: "The Iraqi army was on an offensive to reclaim territory around Mosul and the fighting forced thousands to flee their homes. We went to a refugee centre at a school in Qayyara, south of Mosul and found hundreds of families who had fled Islamic State milling about chaotically outside the building. There wasn't enough humanitarian aid for everyone and refugees were desperately jostling to grab aid packets being handed out while soldiers tried to calm the crowd. I like this picture because you can see how exhausted the little girl is. As I took the photo, I thought this girl should be in school instead of queuing for food. She managed to escape Islamic State, but what does the future hold for her?" REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/Files

Reuters photographer Alaa Al-Marjani captured the moment one suspect was “tossed into the bed of the pickup truck” in February during patrols in the west of the city.

Other militants were shot on site. Tomasevic photographed over the shoulder of one Iraqi special forces soldier as he fired on an Islamic State suicide bomber in March.

Slideshow (4 Images)

“I took the picture seconds later standing just behind the shooter in silhouette, with the suicide bomber visible through a shell hole in the house wall, dead on the ground in a spreading pool of blood,” he said.

“It was pretty heavy stuff, extremely close-range war fighting.”

The pain of the thousands of displaced families was captured by Zohra Bensemra, who photographed a fatigued 90-year-old woman in western Mosul, barely able to stand as she made her way to the Iraqi security forces area.

”I felt bad because I could not do anything else for her apart from photographing her to show the world what physical and mental state the people who flee Mosul are in, Bensemra said.

Other images showcase the relief and celebration among Iraqis, with Suhaib Salem photographing a smiling man having his beard shaved in March outside Hamam al-Alil camp after being forced to grow it long by Islamic State.

Writing by Patrick Johnston in LONDON; Editing by Janet Lawrence

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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